Following Christ Without the Old Time Religion

Prince of Peace by Akiane Kramarik

Prince of Peace by Akiane Kramarik

Danaheadshot  by Dana Taylor

Despite my New Age outward appearances, I am a follower of Christ. I hesitate to use the word, “Christian” as that often carries a variety of images and messages that I do not endorse. To name a few:

  • Eternal damnation
  • Patriarchy
  • Homophobia
  • War in the name of religion
  • Conservative Tea Party madness
  • Stupid bathroom laws

I wasn’t raised in a tight Christian community. Southern California is a cultural crossroads. While the seeds of my faith were planted by my Christian mother, we stopped attending any church by the time I was ten years old. My high school and college years were times of growth and exploration. One of the greatest gifts of my culture was the freedom to think for myself. I didn’t have a pastor, rabbi, mullah, guru, father or mother imposing spiritual beliefs on me. People are born with a wide array of talents and tendencies. I was always intuitive and spiritually curious.

Like attracts like, so I made a best friend also fascinated by esoteric matters. There was many a drunken teenage party that found us in a small room talking about Edgar Cayce and reincarnation while others were getting wasted.

My senior year in college took me to a four month internship in Oklahoma, where I met a young attorney and we enjoyed a whirlwind romance. He asked me to marry him three weeks into our dating life. My biggest hesitation was the fact he was a strong Christian and I was not. The afternoon of his proposal, we discussed our spiritual divide. But love and lust conquers all. We married. During our newlywed months, he generally attended church without me while I cleaned house on Sunday mornings. Eventually, I stepped into the Oklahoma culture where attending church is the foundation of community and making friendships. But, attending church does not a Christian make.

My faith began as curiosity, listening to an excellent, intellectual minister every week, meeting people of strong beliefs. But becoming a follower of Christ requires meeting the living Christ. There are life-changing moments — experiences so profound, they alter the course of one’s existence. They might be quite grand, with lots of drama, or they might be quiet and personal.

I met the Christ Spirit quietly in my bedroom one otherwise uneventful day. I’d been reading the Bible daily and considering all the angles. I’d even started sensing a Presence. At some point, I must have said, “Okay, if you want me, I’d like to be on your team.” Or something like that. No great confessions. No howling to heaven. But it was enough. A power from beyond poured over me. Agape love. God’s love. Christ’s love. Well, it was LOVE. Something so wonderful, the earthly love I’d felt before paled in comparison. I couldn’t see it with my regular eyes, but in my mind’s eye, the room glowed with rivers of sparkling light flowing over me. It was my personal mountain top experience. While I couldn’t live at the pinnacle of that mountain forever, I’ve settled in at a lower altitude.

However, finding faith, did not make me lose my intelligence or spiritual curiosity. It seems to me the message of Christ is simple and beautiful. Love one another. Forgive one another. Take care of one another. The message of the crucifixion was the power over death. Christ rose from the dead and His Spirit lives on, touching millions of lives every day, every hour.

mariaAt this point I have mixed feelings about the historical teachings of the institutional church. From the time Emperor Constantine quit the persecution of Christians and embraced the new religion, men began manipulating the masses for control. The church has attracted true saints and also those wolves in sheeps’ clothing Jesus warned about. Killing in the name of Christ brought us the Crusades, the Inquisition, pogroms, and assorted religious wars. Men’s cultural power over women was reinforced by church doctrine. Many sermons make me grind my teeth when I hear a “woman’s place” given as God’s edict. (As an Oklahoma friend of mine put it, I am sick and tired of some middle aged white man telling me how I should live.) The faithful have suffered grievously from priestly sexual abuse finally exposed in recent years. It hasn’t all been pretty, pious, or peaceful.

Yet, Christ lives. He brought the message of Forgiveness, Love, and Everlasting Life. It was as revolutionary a concept 2,500 years ago as it remains today. He’s still communicating and teaching through those with the spiritual antennas to hear Him. In fact, he’s coming in more clearly than ever before. Study A Course in Miracles, begin your days with Jesus Calling. Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

One of my personal missions is simply to encourage people to think for themselves. I hear from readers of Ever-Flowing Streams: Christ, Reiki, Reincarnation and Me, who have felt they are somehow betraying their Christian faith by exploring ideas outside their standard church doctrine. It’s scary to break the bonds of a fear-based theology. What if the Devil really is out there to grab you?

Followers of Christ enter a higher spiritual realm. We don’t need to live in fear of spiritual boogie men. We do need to exercise discernment. There are dark entities and dangerous paths. But weigh whether a warning is grounded in intuitive discernment or old thinking. Is your bias spiritual or cultural? 

My faith in an active, loving Christ spirit has expanded, even as I’ve embraced concepts of re-birth and quantum physics. Jesus himself was a master of quantum realities ~ he walked on water, controlled the weather, and energy healed. He shook up the status quo and challenged the old guard. I’m simply following his example.

At the end of the day, it comes back to Love and Forgiveness. Jesus represents a global shift from a revenged based culture (an eye for an eye) to a forgiveness culture (forgive seventy times seventy). It’s 2,500 years later and we’re still trying to make that shift. 

There’s a lot of talk today about Light Workers. Many people from across the globe, including myself, identify themselves as Light Workers, spreading love and higher energy frequency to raise the consciousness of modern humanity. That all sounds very New Age, very Eastern, but Jesus may have been the first Light Worker. That’s why I’m still on His team.

I am the Light of the World. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life. John 8: 12

colorful sunset

Bright blessings ~

Dana Taylor

F Available in paperback and ebook at Amazon

I literally could not put this book down

Ever-Flowing Streams: Christ, Reiki, Reincarnation and Me

Book One ~ Supernal Living Series

What others are saying about Ever-Flowing Streams~


F“Dana Taylor has written an engrossing and powerful memoir that touched my soul. I literally could not put this book down until I had finished the last page. I read with an open heart and an open mind, and I came away with a new and amazing awareness of my own inherent ability to heal myself and to offer healing thoughts to others. Dana’s story and her suggested healing exercises have strengthened my Christian faith, and I highly recommend this book to anyone and everyone who is curious about the healing power of prayer.” Donna Fasano, USA Today Bestselling Author

“The honesty displayed in Dana Taylor’s memoir, Ever Flowing Streams, is immediately evident. From her painful battle with panic attacks, choking sensations, and chronic inflammation, she leads the reader patiently, but determinedly through her struggles for answers. Sleepless nights, more often than not, lead to too much alcohol to deaden the pain and allay the fears. The author lays out life struggles for the ultimate good of any reader open to the possibility of a spiritual solution.

Her Christian upbringing and beliefs blend, not always easily, with other forms of spiritualism. At times, she fights to open her mind to the belief that Reiki, for instance–often viewed by Christians as evil–might help her discover the awareness to heal her ravaged body and spirit, and possibly to help others.” Mary Cunningham, author Cynthia’s Attic Series

Powerful stories and raw emotion are masked beneath her subtle humor and down home personality. While the book is not a tutorial or a lesson, it is a guidepost to consider something more.” Karen Syed, Echelon Press

This is a book not to be missed. I highly recommend anyone interested in energy medicine, healing or miracles read this powerfully moving and illuminating book.” Lois Wetzel, author of Reincarnation: Past Lives and the Akashic Records

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Available in ebook and paperback at Amazon.

Celebrating the release of Supernal Adventures: Exploring the New Normal of Multidimensional Living, Book Two ~ Supernal Living Series

Supernal Adventure

 

“The Heavenly Man,” a modern day Apostle Paul

One day last week as I was about to begin my meditation time I felt led to go look for something to read in my husband’s book closet. His theological books were his treasures, but they don’t make for easy reading. As I stood before the open closet looking at the shelves filled with boxes, I thought, Now what? The answer came quickly, Pull the third box. A powder-blue book cover grabbed my attention—The Heavenly Man: The Remarkable Story of Chinese Christian Brother Yun. That was the one.

While The Heavenly Man is one family’s story, it is also reveals a glimpse of the amazing birth of the House Church movement in China. Brother Yun was born in 1958 in a remote farming village in China. His family had a sliver of information about the existence of the Son of God named Jesus. His illiterate mother remembered a few Bible verses she’d been taught as a child before Christian missionaries and their message were eradicated by the Communist Revolution.

When Yun is 16 years old, his father becomes terminally ill. Facing starvation, the mother prays to Jesus for help–loudly, desperately, continually. Her prayers are answered. The father makes a miraculous recovery and the family is the first Christian outpost in their village. Yun becomes a fervent follower of Jesus, calling in heavenly guidance, and begins a movement of spirit akin to the tales of Paul and the first followers of Christ as told in the Book of Acts. Like those earliest believers who faced the wrath of the Roman Empire, the House Church Christians of China suffer the persecution of the Communist government. But from the crucible of suffering comes strength and determination to follow the path of Jesus.

Encouraged by continual divine intervention, Yun evangelizes wherever he goes, often in prison. Despite cattle prods and beatings, he never denies his faith, although he admits spiritual pride occasionally sends him on a rough road. His wife, Deling, and their two children also endure hardships beyond the imagination of most Westerners, all for the sake of the gospel. The ripple effect of their faith and others like them has inspired tens of millions of Chinese to meet secretly in House Churches and continue pursuing the Great Commission.

This is an unfolding story of Spirit working in our midst. In the darkest places, among the cruelest regimes, the Light still shines. If you’re looking for real inspiration, and perhaps a life purpose, pick up a copy of The Heavenly Man.

Why are we frightened of reincarnation?

Ever-Flowing Streams: Tapping into Healing Energy

Chapter 9

Reincarnation

This excerpt is Part II in a series on reincarnation:

I know who I was when I got up this morning, but I think I must have changed several times since then.–Alice in Wonderland

Born Again?

Great minds and mystics have grappled with the theory of reincarnation for eons. The modern Christian church dismisses the concept. The party line is that we are born once; we have the option of accepting Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior for our ticket to heaven; if we don’t, we are condemned to hell. This interpretation of scripture promotes church membership quite effectively.

But looking historically and globally, I found that reincarnation has been embraced by cultures far and wide. Even the Bible retains passages that allude to it. Besides the reference above from Matthew naming John the Baptist and Elijah as the same soul, Jesus seemed to convey the concept in several references:

John 8:58–Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.

Luke 9:18-20–“Who do the people say that I am?” And they answered, “John the Baptist; but others say Elijah; and others, that one of the old prophets has risen.”

John 9:2—As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”

If you take the above passages at face value, it appears there was a cultural acceptance of the idea that souls return to the earthly plane. Clearly, the people of the time exhibited a belief in reincarnation if they conjectured Jesus might be the returning spirits of Elijah or an Old Testament prophet.

Also implied in the last quotation is an understanding of karma, the cosmic law of cause and effect. Who sinned, this man or his parents that he was born blind? The question indicates a belief that a child born blind could be the result of previous misdeeds.

Other scriptures point to a karmic philosophy:

Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap-Galatians 6:7

Do unto others what you would have them do to you—Matthew 7:12

All who draw the sword will die by the sword—Matthew 26:52

Theologians have argued these passages for two thousand years. One of the earliest and most respected was Origen of Alexandria who lived from 185-254 A.D. According to the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, he believed in the “pre-existence and fall of souls; multiple ages and transmigration of souls; and the eventual restoration of all souls to a state of dynamic perfection in proximity to the godhead.” Quite the metaphysician, Origen. He devoted his life to teaching and writing his Christian beliefs until the Roman Emperor of the day ordered a purging of the followers of Christ. Origen was martyred in Tyre.

The debate continued for another two hundred years until the church grew into a political institution. According to Life Between Life by Joel L. Whitton, Ph. D, “The new Church-State alliance, aiming for the cultivated dependence of the masses, felt threatened by those who believed in rebirth because such Christians tended to be self-reliant, free-thinking individuals whose subservience could not be guaranteed.”

In 553 A.D., the Fifth Ecumenical Council condemned Origen’s theories as heresy (the root definition meaning “able to choose”).  Emperor Justinian formally denounced the concept of rebirth in no uncertain terms:

If anyone assert the fabulous pre-existence of souls and shall assert the monstrous restoration which follows from it: let him be anathema

Wow–let him be anathema– as in a “person or thing accursed or consigned to damnation or destruction.” [1]

Zealous church leaders followed up that dictate by slaughtering a half million reincarnation-believing Cathars in Southern France during the 1200’s. Not satisfied with that carnage, the Inquisition was born.

Carol Bowman sums up the legacy of such repression in Children’s Past Lives thus:

The murderous efficiency of the Inquisition proved effective. The persecution by the institutional Church has scarred our collective psyche, and it has surrounded us with an invisible fence dividing what is safe from what is dangerous to believe. Since then, people who harbor forbidden ideas have learned to keep their thoughts to themselves. Our cultural memory still carries the fear of reprisal for publicly associating with any occult practices, the use of psychic powers or a belief in reincarnation.

Consequently, believers in reincarnation were effectively wiped out or muzzled. In time, the masses of the West generally forgot about it. The day-to-day struggle to survive and the poor education of the eras erased reincarnation concept from cultural memory.

History marched on—the Renaissance, the split of church by the Reformation, and the Industrial Revolution transformed the West, but reincarnation did not figure into the world-view paradigm. And maybe that was a good thing.

End of excerpt

All of Chapter 9 is available to read at Scribd.com

Tapping400Ever-Flowing Streams: Tapping into Healing Energy is available at:

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© 2010 by Dana Taylor
All rights reserved

 


 

Christianity and Reiki

There are the sayings, “like attracts like” and “birds of a feather flock together.” I’ve found in my Reiki practice and the responses to Ever-Flowing Streams: Christ, Reiki, Reincarnation and Me that I am attracting people grounded in a Christian tradition, but willing to think outside the box. Much of Ever-Flowing Streams chronicles my pursuit of knowledge about energy healing within the Christian culture. Can a Christian comfortably visit or become a Reiki therapist? Let’s get some perspective on the issue.

Reiki_Symbol

  • Reiki is not a religion. People of many religious affiliations or no religious affiliations are participating in the energy healing movement. Its roots come from Japan and an Eastern world view, but it is utilizing universal energies—like electricity.
  • Are there “magic” symbols? The symbols in Reiki have specific meanings and many are Japanese words or phrases. They are used as meditation focus points to enable the practitioner to concentrate a healing intention, such as sending distance healing. The idea of “magic” is primarily a Western concept that arises from Occult activity. Reiki symbols are more akin to mediating and quieting the mind toward a certain goal. Reiki symbols are part of Sacred Geometry, carrying healing energetic frequencies.
  • Where does the healing power come from? The same question was asked of Jesus Christ when he walked the earth and healed the multitudes. Some accused him of being in league with the Devil. He knew how to use the universal healing energies in a very efficient manner. I began studying energy healing within the church and simply kept learning. The Reiki energies come from another dimension, unseen to the human eye, but quite real. As humans evolve and become multi-sensory, access to these energies and the intelligence behind them will become more common.

Personally, I consider myself a follower of Christ and the expansion into energy work is a further manifestation of living out my spiritual path. However, I don’t press my religious beliefs on clients.  Energy work encompasses transmitting healing vibrations into the subtle (energetic ) body of the client. The practitioner may also pick up information, such as sensing that an organ is stressed, like a low thyroid. The energies emitted are utilized by the client to the best of their ability to assimilate it. None of this activity is tied to a religion. For more information about Christianity and Reiki, visit http://www.christianreiki.org/ and The International Center for Reiki Training

EverF  Join the Supernal Adventure!

“Tattoos on the Heart,” My Favorite Book

Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion

Taylor email 03 Review by Dana Taylor

“His ways are not our ways…but they sure could be.” 

Tattoos on the Heart author Gregory Boyle, aka Father Gregory Boyle, founder of Homeboy Industries and long-time priest of the Delores Mission in Los Angeles, aka “G-dog”, sums up his approach to life in that simple, but profound, phrase. Father Boyle has been honored with numerous awards, including the California Peace Prize, and even brought gang members to dinner at the White House. A bout of leukemia prompted him to finally write a book inspired by his twenty-five years ministering at the ground zero of gangland—Boyle Heights of Los Angeles. Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion is my new favorite book and it will take something pretty special to bump it off the top of my list.

It hit me on so many levels.  First, the writing style—there’s a dose of barrio homeboy vernacular to make it real.  A homegirl acting as receptionist answers a bomb threat with “Go ahead and bring that bomb, motherfucka. We’re ready for your ass.” (Christian publishers passed on the book because of those moments.) Then, in the next paragraph Boyle might quote Thomas Merton or a Catholic saint.  He uses so many different colors to paint the palette of his book.

Next, the content is the stuff of inspiring sermons—spiritual lessons couched in anecdotal stories of the homies. Rather than writing a chronological autobiography G (as he most often is called) offers chapters that focus on the gifts of the spirit—Grace, Compassion, Gladness, Kinship. He makes the barrio come alive through the eyes of man who sees the value in people who can’t see the value in themselves. This isn’t a Disney-like portrayal of the happy mean streets. His heart has been broken by the 167 times he’s buried the homeboys because of senseless violence.

 Yet, there is hope because he knows who the Savior is.  He sees Him in every scary, tattooed ex-con who comes through the doors of Homeboy Industries. G knows the Boundless Compassion of God and does his best to pay it forward.

Father Boyle lives among the angry, the marginalized, the under-educated throwaways of society and shows them God’s love. Indeed, his ways are not our ways…but they sure could be.

If you read it, Tattoos might turn into your favorite book also.

Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion by Gregory Boyle

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Ever-Flowing Streams: Christ, Reiki, Reincarnation & Me

   “A book not just to read, but to experience”–Tampa Bay Examiner

Available as ebook and paperback at Amazon