Sunday, September 27, 2009

Website & Services Update!

Well, I found some time this weekend to make a few changes to my website over at and I still have a few things I plan on getting accomplished either this evening or sometime during the next week. So far though the three biggest additions to my site include the following:

#1. I have, as I said I would, changed the Services page and removed my previous methods of communication in exchange for a web based version of a chat client I've used for years, called IRC. Using this feature will not only allow people to chat with me personally but with each other. Community is one of the strongest things we can built as people and that is one of my goals in addition to ministry and counseling.

#2. I've also finally added a contact page. I was putting it off because it meant that I would have to make another set of IM accounts to add to my growing list of online identities. However, I took the time today to create those accounts and have also put up an E-Mail address for people to use should they wish to write me. I'm holding off on a snail mail address though until the need for one actually presents itself, at which time, I shall obtain a PO Box.

#3. Even though I have decided to do the bulk of my online work for free, I have also decided to allow people to make donations should they wish too. I believe this to be a great alternative to charging regularly for anything because it gives a great deal of freedom to the individual on deciding how much if any they'd like to give. As of now, the only way to do this is via Pay Pal and I have set up the links appropriately.

I would also like to take a moment to pass along an update to those who don't know, that I have started a daily devotional via my FaceBook account called Spirit Walk Devotional. This is something I've been planning on doing for a while but only just recently got around to. It's based loosely on the "Our Daily Bread" series and so far, it's been a treat to write. I don't write it seven days a week, just Mon - Fri mornings. This way, my weekends are free for other tasks like website updates, more involved writings, and updating my blog.

In the future, I plan on integrating the devotional into my website, but that will have to wait for another time. Right now, if you would like to view my devotional, you'll have to add me as a friend on facebook. Just do a user search for MinisterButler (all one word) and you'll be set.

It's a slow process but I'll get everything the way I want it eventually. Right now, I'm pretty satisfied with the basics and don't really need anything beyond that. We'll see how it keeps shaping up though! Be blessed and take care!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

It's All About YOU!

I recently read a website written by someone with a very unique personal view and approach to spirituality. Not unlike myself, this person offered their own individual experience and desire to help others and up unto a point, I was pretty intrigued by what I was reading. That is until I ran across a section which implied that running into self was one of the most hindering road blocks to the spiritual journey because when we get hung up on self, we lose site of God. I clicked the little X button right then and there.

I have said this now many times and I still stand by it firmly! To understand self is to understand God, to recognize self is to recognize God, to pay attention to self is to pay attention to God. This is where so many groups make their first mistake, they put the focus of a spiritual journey on trying to obtain something that is far from reach, claiming that in order to close the gap between us and God, we must turn away from focussing on ourselves because it is selfish.

The truth of the matter is however, we *cannot* begin to find God until we begin to find ourselves. How can we know a God whose image we are made in if we don't even know ourselves? If we can't bring ourselves to do the things that please us, help us to grow, make our lives better, and yes even make us *happy*, how on earth can we expect to commune with a divine creator who reflects all of those things?

People come to a faith often times broken, seeking someone or something larger than themselves to help fix them. You see, this is what society has taught us through the ages, that we *NEED* something larger than ourselves, a being more powerful than we are, to bring our lives back from a dark point and give them meaning, give them purpose, give them forgiveness.

Because so many of us are unable to focus on ourselves, we can't find any of these things within us on our own. We lose purpose easily, have a hard time finding meaning, and do I really need to go into how hard it is for people to forgive themselves? We're told that's because we must seek God to instill those things upon us. So, we pray and we tithe, sing our hymns and read our texts, never being aware of the fact that these efforts are the very things that keep us from moving ahead.

It's all about you! First and foremost we *must* be OK with that. It isn't selfish and it isn't arrogant, YOU are the most important thing in life and you cannot recognize that in others until you recognize it within yourself. If you are not where *YOU* need to be then you are not going to be in any position to be where others may need you to be. If you are not happy, if you are not any of the things you would like others around you to be, then it's time to realize that you need to start focussing on yourself.

Also, don't be afraid to temper your humility with a certain amount of pride. Yes, I am aware that looks backwards but you read it right. Humility is a wise thing to have but don't forget that too much of it will get you humiliated. As an individual you must also be STRONG and stand upright and proud of who you are, the things you accomplish. Too much humility extinguishes our sense of self pride and worth. It also makes us look weakly upon anything we do which diminishes the positive impact that accomplishment can have on us.

In my life, a lot of people have mistook my own strength as a case of too much ego. I acknowledge my ego is there but I don't deny it it's proper place in my life. When kept in check, an ego can be a healthy thing, it keeps us confident and our ambition strong. A properly nurtured sense of self worth though should also bring with it a desire to see that in others. The truly egocentric person strives to keep all of those things for him/herself, while those with a healthy measure of it, wish to see others grow and succeed right along with them!

So you see, self is not a road block to spiritual enlightenment. Rather, self is the vehicle that makes that journey. If we don't give that full recognition and acknowledgement, then we risk having accidents and wrecks along the way. Don't sell yourself short by giving in to the idea that you must discard yourself and rely upon something else to come and fill you with ideas and concepts you are perfectly capable of producing yourself.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Who Or What Is God?

A question that has been asked by mankind since the dawn of civilization and a question that we may never fully be able to comprehend in our lives. Does God exist as nature? Is God a physical being or a spirit? Does He or She have any expectations of us as individuals? While I don't think we can ever fully comprehend the essence of spirituality, I believe the journey itself is what brings us closer to the real meaning or being behind God.

My personal belief, and the one that is reflected and fuels my websites ambitions, places the answers to these questions on our own shoulders. By that, I mean to say that I believe *we* are God. Every religion throughout the world describes mankind as beings created in a God's image, in the likeness of the creator. So, if we are like God then logic would dictate that God is like us. Likewise, creation itself is said to be a representation of God's creative mind or a representation of God's imagination.

If we truly accept these concepts, then it would mean that "we" refers to not just humanity but animals and nature as well. This means that EVERYTHING is God and EVERYTHING is a projection/representation of God's mind and thoughts. In other words, every aspect of life as we know it and every individual being with his/her unique personality is a direct representation of a distinct part of God's mind. So, if we are a *part* of a creator's mind that in essence makes us one with the creator, meaning we ARE the creator.

I also like to refer to existence as the creator expressing himself or herself indefinitely, in an infinite array of possibilities, all of which in their roots do so to further the creator's ability to express universal and unconditional love. What I mean, through "life" the creator in constantly seeking to experience love in EVERY conceivable way possible. An interesting twist to this is the fact that every religion i know of speaks of God as actually *being* love.

So, again, if this is true, then God is constantly seeking to experience himself/herself. This can be somewhat confusing but if you follow me, it explains the nature of spirituality all together. If we are God, and if God is on an constant mission to experience himself/herself and on a constant mission to experience love, then what is spirituality? The search for understanding, the constant seeking out of God, the search for answers, the desire to experience more. See how it's connected?

Put simply, our desire as a race to be spiritual people is a direct projection and representation of God's desire to experience himself/herself and the infinite possibilities of the creator's love. God wants to know how far he/she can stretch the possibilities of love through himself/herself. For instance, God wants to know how to find that creator's love through struggle and strife. How do you find the road to that, through every challenge "life" has to offer?

This puts a real new twist on concepts such as good and evil doesn't it? Let me explain, how would say, the thief find their way back to a spiritual peace and creator's love? How would the suffering do the same? It blurs the line just a little doesn't it? Try this one, what would be the easier path to a creator's love, condemning the dictator to eternal suffering, or forgiving the trespasses of this life and using the next to try and find the right way?

Think about every single person on the face of the planet. Try to wrap your brain around the idea that every single individual one of us is a representation of God trying to experience himself/herself's universal love through billions of unique and individual ways. It gives one a great deal to contemplate.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Services and Operation Update

Well, I know it's been another large gap between posts for this blog,but as i've said many times I do maintain a full time job and my time does get occupied pretty quickly with that and other aspects of my online work. So, I hope anyone who reads my stuff will bare with me! A point in time will come where I post on a regular basis again, I promise!

Anyway, this post doesn't have any helpful spiritual tidbits in it I'm afraid, except to say that it would be my most profound wish that others seriously interested in helping others will follow my lead and example. I've been giving a great deal of thought for a long time now to the way my website and services work. To put it mildly, I'm not thrilled.

Both the keen and bitwine services are semi ok for what they are. At first, I thought both would be great ideas because each make seeking out my counsel quick, easy, and for the rates I've listed on both, affordable I think. What I don't like, are the types of people each service can attract, in other words, time wasters. I get more requests for psychic readings than anything else...folks, I am NOT Ms Cleo! Callin me for your free readin probably won't get you anywhere.

I also get fakers who just use the three free minutes to do nothing but cause trouble or spout out stupid stuff for the sake of giving themselves amusement. These things have been a confirmation sign of a deeper truth that I've known for quite some time. I've had a very hard time justifying charging people money to get my spiritual insight for ages.

Even when I was a pastor, accepting money from a small church that I knew was struggling financially, tinged my conscience with more than a touch of guilt, especially when the money was never what I did it for. Donations never bothered me, if people feel like giving then it would be rude of me to deny them the pleasure some people receive from gifting.

I say that because it's true even for me. If I feel motivated, moved , or touched by someone spiritually, I always give financially if I can. However, many people who pursue the things I do with a sincere heart, can attest that money means little to them when it is compared to the feeling you get when you know you have made someone feel better.

Spiritual pursuits are not where I want to make my fortune. I have a good job, I have a writing hobby, and I still dream of breaking into the music industry someday. If I should decide to write a book on the subject, then yeah I won't hesitate to try and get it published and sold. If someone wants to pay me to do lectures or workshops i wouldn't turn down the money.

To take that down to the level of everyday people though? No, I can't justify it any longer. So, over the next few months, my website services section will be disappearing and reappearing as a free services section. I'm going to leave the merchandise section up for now, I may end up writing something someday I wish to put up there, it isn't doing any harm sitting there anyway.

As a positive irony to this action, there are an infinite amount of ways to reach me freely than there are through paid services, all of which give me greater control when it comes to dealing with fakers and harassment. I've already got a few ideas that I'm working on in my mind, it just may take a bit for them to come together.

I have helped more people in my life freely than I ever have through charging for my counseling and advising. That has been and shall always continue to be, my main objective. So, to that end, the paid services shall stop immediately. Be well and blessed, I shall be in touch soon.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

The Blind Man's Take On Blind Faith


Well, it's been a while hasn't it? First of all, I'd like to apologize for the length of time between my last post and this one. Spring time at my normal place of employment is a busy time of year and I just finished wrapping up a good deal of overtime. With that behind me though, I an now ready to resume my writing with something I've been thinking about quite a bit for the past few weeks. As I continue down my own personal path of Spirituality, I am finding it more of a need to bite my tongue on some issues as to not step on the beliefs of others.

What I'd like to talk about in regards to this conflict is the particular urge I get to beg and plead with people to not use blind faith as a major decision making factor in their lives. This is an ideal I was even passionate about in my Christian ministry at least to a certain degree. On other levels, I would have done well to take my own advice back then but anyway, I have always felt that total and complete blind faith without something I like to call common sense is responsible for a lot of bad things in life.

Recently, someone I know went through some medical troubles and in fact still is going through them. The question of whether or not the doctor this person is seeing is competent or not came up and my friend was questioning whether or not they should get a second opinion. I of course was all for it because the more I listened the more I believed that this doctor wasn't someone I'd trust 100% without a second opinion.

In the end though, my well natured and good intended Christian friend decided that they were going to go back to this doctor and "trust God to guide his hands." for the procedure that this person needs to have done. Trying my best to not protest so strongly as to scare the poor person, I strongly urged them to seek the second opinion for the simple reason that in cases of major surgery it's always good to have one. I'm not sure how that situation turned out yet, I'm hopeful though that my friend considered my advice.

The trouble is that people of faith hear things like that all of the time. "Just have faith and God will take care of the rest." which is well and good in principle but leaves something to be desired in practice I think. I used to get around this in the past by simply telling people to pray about it and I didn't understand fully at the time but it was the most sound advice I could have given anyone regarding life changing decisions. When we slow ourselves down into a state of deep contemplation, more often than not, we will give ourselves the right solution to a problem.

At some point however, well intended people get caught up in the people behind the pulpits screaming at them that they don't have enough faith, that's why bad things are happening to them, that's why they aren't where they want to be in life, that's why they're poor and that's why they're *still* sick after years and years. Because they aren't fully trusting God or because their faith isn't strong enough, these people become so frustrated and desperate to do "right" that they determine the only true way to have faith in God is to throw common sense to the wind and stumble ahead blindly making decisions based on crude faith based mentalities at best.

So, the question we must ask ourselves is how does this line of thinking get so driven into the minds of intelligent people? Because, the business of religion is very good at what it does. Christianity in particular has had at least 2,000 years to perfect the trade and it really works because religion has become an expert in playing on our human side, our emotions, our desire to be a part of something bigger than we are, to make a difference, and to be accepted and affirmed.

We get reeled in by the testimonies of the damned who have seen the light and changed their lives, we get dazzled by the miracles of healing people go through fake and real cases alike, we hear the stories of success and elation at how God has provided for people and when we hear all of these wondrous it any wonder we can't help but want that kind of experience in our own lives? Of course not, we're human. Most of us have a deep desire, a need even, for those types of experiences and the vast majority of us hunger for that so much that we will believe most anything to get it.

One of my favorite movie lines in the world is from "The American President" which says "People are so thirsty for leadership that they'll crawl through the desert for it and when they discover there's no water they'll drink the sand." to which the President responds "People don't drink the sand because they're thirsty, they drink the sand because they don't know the difference." and in this case, a little bit of both is true. People are thirsty for their spiritual lives to be full and healthy to the point that they will swallow anything that initially reels them in and can hardly ever tell the difference between what is real spirituality and what is bologna.

What I don't hear a lot of these religious groups doing is talking about the failures of their faith. I don't mean the people who have "backslidden" from a life of grace into a life of sin or anything like that. I mean the real tragedies, the ones that cost people their lives or families. I can't help but use the gay and lesbian community as an example because it's where I have been most active in the last ten years and I can tell you that people have been left at the wayside where spirituality is concerned. I don't just mean the GLBT people themselves, but the lives of those around them. If that kind of falling short is so common in one niche of a spiritually seeking population, how much more so exists in the population at large?

Finally, to bring home this point, there's me. I have got to be religions ultimate failure. I am the gay blind man who fell from grace. Now, I don't usually make it a habit to talk about my vision a lot in relation to my spirituality because secretly, I've always been curious about it and during my ministry days, scared by it. You see, to a young rising star in the southern baptist church, who was as sincere as one could be in his Christian faith, the thought of divine healing was always in the back of my mind. As time wore on and that didn't happen though, it made me question my faith and it's strength. I have been legally blind since birth and although I would never show it, I go through yearning spells just like anyone else with a disability does, to be cured.

I don't say that to gain sympathy but to inform. I have of course since realized that my vision like my sexual orientation, is just something I was born with. What's more, I've come to realize that these are both strengths in me, not weaknesses. It took me the better part of the last ten years to get to this point and that's with more trials and tribulation than I can possibly have ever imagined ten years could hold. That's just me, one single human being in a mass of billions....imagine how hard coming to this kind of clarity must be on a planetary scale when a lot of it has to be done within one's self, on their own. How many truly have the strength to quench their own thirst for spiritual growth?

This is why awakening to the real facts of the universe is so important and the most important fact we can learn about it is that we know a lot less than we're willing to admit as a race. No, one individual doesn't always have the ability to quench their own spiritual thirst initially, I know I didn't. The importance of coming together has never been clearer in my mind where this is concerned and reaching within ourselves for direction, not stumbling ahead blindly into the future hoping that God makes the right decisions for us.

Existence is an amazing thing, all life is wondrous but try to keep in mind that usually, amazing and wondrous things are almost never 100% good or 100% bad 100% of the time and are rarely ever safe. Miracles, disasters, struggles, pains, disabilities, what are they but simply part of the wondrous experience that is being alive? Try to keep this in mind when you find yourself tempted to be moved by the stories and testimonies of the faithful and/or when you yourself are tempted to tell such a story. And, my friends, try to use all of these insights to help you make your own spiritual decisions to help you live your life to it's fullest. Please don't fall into the trap of molding your life to help you live more spiritually.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Services Launch!


Well, instead of my usual topics for discussion this week, I am writing a blog post to highlight the imminent launching of other services I plan to provide. If you stumble upon my blog through my website, then you of course already know the nature of it's purpose. If you're reading my blog directly or from an RSS feed though, some of this will be news.

In the very near future, I shall be launching and promoting my personal domain. Actually, I've already began doing this to an extent but as my website is not complete, I haven't been talking much about it. I've spent the last few months trying to get the content finished but it has been a challenge finding the time. People are more than welcome to stop by and take a look though, add it to your bookmarks and check back often because it will get finished:

Next, you will notice that in the body of my blog messages, I have inserted a small button icon advertising my status as an BitWine Advisor. This is in line with my attempt to get back into one of the things I enjoy most, counselling and helping people. If you click on that button, it will send you to my BitWine profile where you will be given the opportunity to start chatting with me.

BitWine is partnered with Skype, so the possibilities are really great for the type of service I wish to provide. I can stay within the realm of text chats or I can transfer to Skype for audio as well as offer a direct phone conversation. The site even comes with a scheduler so I and others can schedule appointments for sessions. As a point of note, I'm also listed on the Advisor network but I am not heavily promoting my phone service at this time as the BitWine approach makes life somewhat easier for me.

All of this has been VERY slow going for me as sometimes I tend to overload myself with ideas and have to let them kind of stream out in whatever order they want. I plan on providing written works of encouragement and guidance as well but these are going to be even more time consuming. Some of these materials will be free downloads and others will be in the form of downloadable ebooks and actual booklets, both for a small fee.

This brings me to one of the struggles I've had to deal with in pursuing all of this. Even when I was a Pastor, the idea of getting paid for my interpretations of scripture seemed a bit wrong. I'll grant you that being there for people as a counselor and spending hours putting sermons and lessons together does take it's share of toll on the mind and sometimes even the body.

So, I have decided to have an equal balance of free material and paid material. People will get a vast majority of my "core" teachings for free, only paying for the more in depth works. The same holds true for my BitWine counseling, one reason I chose to go with them. The services allows me to control the "meter" so to speak. This means you do not get charged for simply starting a chat with me, gives people a chance to feel me out and allows me to stop the charging process if I need to go into an indepth explanation of something I feel doesn't warrant the caller paying money for during the course of the conversation.

It is my hope that by doing this, I can show people that I am not in this for money and my rates will reflect that compared to similar people offering similar services. I hold a full time job on top of my spiritual pursuits, so I do not feel the need to bleed people's pocket books. My ebooks will never cost more than 5.00 and any printed material I end up publishing will be equally as fairly priced as I plan to do all of the publishing myself.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Dividing Line In The Spiritual Sands


Something has dawned on me today that I can't help but write about. Are these not interesting times we live in? Moreover, I believe these are incredible times! Yes, that's right, with a world economy in shambles, natural disasters on the uprise, general states of human suffering still lingering on and on and the constant threat of worldwide violence ever present, I still find a place for hope regarding the future. I'll grant you, I'm just as concerned about current events as anyone else out there and I have my own stresses in life to deal with because of how the world is right now. I have found that it is important to not lose sight of the big picture though, to see where all of this could in fact be going.

I don't know if any of you have felt it as I have but change is in the air, a very unique and very different kind of change. Some are calling it a "Shift" of consciousness and I believe that this is dead on accurate. The even more interesting thing is that the lines of change are being drawn and there is still some division on either side of this line. This is why I still do what I do, I care for people and I don't want to draw people to my side of the line, I want to erase the line all together.

Have you ever heard the expression that things get at their worst just before they improve to their best? Look around at the mesh of different things going on in the world. I don't have to explain all of the troubling parts but has anyone stopped to see the good that's mixing in with it? There is a shift going on in the world where things like religion are concerned. The world at large is taking a good hard look at what religion has led it too and the overwhelming majority are waking up and realizing that they have had enough.

People in countries that once held great economic superiority and influence are beginning to find that the powers of corruption and greed are finally tearing down the walls that for so long have made them feel so secure. Citizens within these countries are also waking up to the fact more than ever, that they truly have been misled by their governments and businesses. The vast majority of these people are also waking up to the realization that enough is enough.

Countless millions are realizing that war and death are direct products of religion and greed and the more we as a civilization of people unite under these realizations, the more the powers that be lose their hold and control over circumstances at large. You see regimes tightening their grips, governments throwing every effort at restoring order so people don't ask too many questions as the truths that have been masked by decades of complacency, finally fall from under the veil.

As these things continue to unfold, we are beginning to see where these lines of division are drawn among the general population. I see it directly in my everyday life! People who were once planning for bright futures, thinking of the long term, no longer bother to even plan so much as a month ahead because people really believe that their entire world may very well fall apart from month to month, that's crazy! Yet, I myself have had to fight really hard to keep from getting caught up in the drama. Even those whose wills are strong and their hope secure can get strung along into the stampede.

This is where the importance of things like sharing and witnessing become so very important. The end result is going to be good but how good will it be? My belief is that some will reach a breakthrough not just of spirit but of existence entirely and others, just will not have the energy and ability to take that leap. It will not be a separation of good and bad but I do believe at some point humanity will indeed split. One group will advance to a new grade level and another group will repeat a grade level that's the closest analogy I can make.

You have a choice if you are one of the people who finds themselves trapped in a stampede of uncertainty and stress. Simply take a breathe, and step out of the mess around you, put yourself above it and around it so that you can begin to help influencing rather than being drug along by it. I see people like this at my job on a daily basis and I have been starting to actively try and shift these attitudes more towards love and positive thinking because this is the only type of "ministry" the world needs.

This is the choice of some, but the call to all, that we come together under these banners of positive thinking and try to reduce the negative impact the current world changes have on the population at large. These things *must* happen in order for the good and better days to begin, we can't stop the continuing struggle of the powers that believe they control our world, to hold on to that illusion and it's going to be a bit rough from time to time as they fight to hold on. The more we as a people bring our desires for a different way together, the more our consciousness as a race will shift and begin to point mankind into that direction.

We have the power within each and everyone one of ourselves to actively induce the changing of the world. It begins with self awareness, and truly understanding self and from there taking that understanding and passing it on to others, willing the conscious energy you share with those around you to retune itself into a harmony of positive thinking and universal love understanding. Remember that analogy I made earlier? Well, we are going through periods where love *seems* to be lacking but the universe is love, the real and agape kind, we cannot escape that. Existence will naturally flow towards that which is love light and light love, it's inevitable.

The path to that may not always seem smooth however and indeed may not be a path all of our beings can transverse but why on earth is that a bad thing? We're all developing differently and eventually, we'll be in the same spot. This is the storm, these are the days of great trial that will bring about mankind's awakening to a new and better way of existing. The excitement really is mounting!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Anger Management


This week, I would like to talk about something that is to this day still a huge struggle for me. Is there really a full proof way to overcome feelings of anger, resentment, and hostility towards others? Let's face it, we all know people that really make us angry and sometimes, those feelings are well justified. We've all been manipulated by someone at some point in our lives, we've all worked with people who drive us crazy and we all know individuals with poor ethics and personality qualities that make us want to scream.

Those of us who have sat under any amount of spiritual teaching, have heard about the concept of unconditional love towards are fellow man. After all of these lectures, I'm sure some of you felt just like me, a little bit guilty about the ill feelings you harbored towards that guy that cut you off on the freeway, flipped you the bird after running a stoplight, or got away with sitting on their butt at work while you busted yours. You probably have made many commitments to never feel that way toward anyone again only to find that after the sermon, on Monday morning, the real world slaps you in the face and the cycle starts all over again.

So what is the secret to this deeply philosophical concept that when mastered, brings us closer to God and each other? Well, given my experience, I'm sorry to tell you that there isn't one. Emotions are an insanely complicated thing to master and if there is anyone out there who can back up a claim to have fully tamed theirs, please, share your thoughts with us. Now, I do believe that as time goes on and as we make a conscious effort, we can control the intensity of these negative emotions but to rid ourselves of them entirely? Not sure it's possible at this stage in our human development.

As the title of this post says, it's about management, not full control. Let's face it, we're all going to encounter negative feelings, it's part of life for anyone who lives and works in the real world. As a 9 to 5 man myself, I run into it on a daily basis and it is a huge challenge to keep those feelings at bay in the face of dealing with how our world works day in and day out. Oh, and believe me, if you bite your tongue and treat people nicely on the surface and yet still feel the enormous rage and anger in your heart, you're not doing a bit of good. All you're doing in that case is seething and aren't really exercising work towards unconditional love.

So, how do we begin to counter balance this nasty habit of ours to get upset and angry in a spiritual way that doesn't cause us to be in a constant state of repentance and anguish over failing to live up to our religious world's high moral standards of holiness? First of all, throw the standards out because they don't work for everyone just as what I'm about to suggest may not work for some of you. My beliefs have changed so much though that confronting anger and rage with my current mentality makes life a lot easier to bare.

First of all, you need to tear down a very significant wall by viewing yourself differently in order to view others, differently. For me, this began when I tossed out the idea that most modern religious organizations would have us believe. This belief is that we are products of the creator, each a unique representation of the creator's personality. This puts in the "rat in a cage" spot, driving home the idea that we are "creatures" the end result of a thought or idea the creator had. This notion also puts a division between us and the creator.

What if this is not the case at all? What if *we* are the creator? By that, I mean what if instead of being the product of a creator's thought process, we are actually and active part of that process? We then become more than separated entities brought forth by the creator and instead become a part of the creator's personality, a conscious representation *of* the creator, not something made in that creator's likeness. So, if we can imagine ourself as being a unique thought of the great consciousness that is a creator, I think it can begin to change our self opinion.

Using that idea, how then does it pertain to others? You see, I believe that the creator is expressing and experiencing himself *through* us as a conscious and independent extension of himself. Now, I realize this is a really strange thing to grasp at first and I'm working on it! I'm preparing a booklet of sorts about the subject of the creator as one vs the creator and the creation. Simply put though, we are all individual parts of one larger consciousness.

So if this is indeed the case, the argument shifts from being "God must have had a reason to create a person the way they are." to "Ah, the Creator is trying to experience himself through these various personality complexes and how they interact." which if you stop to meditate on it, really can help in relating to one another. Keep in mind though, that the ultimate goal of the creator is to have these experiences and at the same time, grow in unconditional love. This is the one facet of the creator religions have right, he is a creator that exists in love, the Agape kind.

Also, I say "he" only because it's easier for me to put a pronoun to the creator. In reality, gender is not an issue. So, what do you think? If you can wrap your mind around the concept that we are all the creator trying to experience existence in every way that he can, does it make how we view and perceive others change any? I can tell you that it has for me. I still get irritated at people and I still lose my temper on occasion (though like everyone else, I'm trying to work on it) but after I reflect, I begin to understand that our creator is giving himself the fullest extent of experience possible by manifesting each of our individual natures.

Put simply, we are an active thought process of the creator. So, while we may not understand how people can be the way they are at times, try to see if you can understand why the *creator* would choose to experience that type of person. also, try to remember that your reaction is yet another experience for the creator. When we "wake up" to this self understanding, it opens the doors not just for anger management but an entirely new outlook on where we're going. The closer we get to experiencing unconditional love, the more in tune with universal consciousness we will become and that friends, is when we shall be truly enlightened.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Share And Share Alike!


As a son who lives far away from home, I like many others I'm sure have made it a ritual to call my mother about every other day or so. Checking up on things at home aside, me and my mom usually have some great conversations. I doubt she realizes but over the years. she has been responsible for sparking some of my most thought provoking spiritual journeys and contemplations. Though I'm not quite sure that she would approve of some of my conclusions where these matters are concerned, I do know that she would probably appreciate that compliment.

One of the most wonderful things we can do as people is share with one another. It doesn't matter whether or not we share the same ideals or beliefs, just that we take part in the sharing. I don't think enough people realize that it is possible to gain a great deal of strength from such exchanges. In church, we called sharing of this kind testimony and while the theme in Christian testimonies is usually the same, the essence of what it is can be a powerful experience across the entire spectrum of spirituality and religion.

One of the ideals I've been studying recently involves the concept of a collective consciousness which we all share. Without getting into a lot of boring detail here, the idea is basically that the human potential to tap into a universal consciousness exists. This facilitates and unheard amount of sharing. I believe when we take a physical part in sharing our life's stories and journeys with one another, we are in some way, breaking into what a collective consciousness such as that must feel like.

Imagine if you will, being able to take whatever problem or situation you are going through in life and searching the vast amount of human experiences through that collective consciousness to see if anyone else has had similar events in their own lives. Can you begin to imagine the problems we could solve on levels such as those? In some ways, we're already doing that with the internet. Social networks and blogs have become a forum for just this type of purpose.

I believe that the road to realizing a spiritual evolution so to speak in the direction of a collective consciousness concept is to start in the here and now. The only thing that needs to change about sharing is the way in which certain information is received by others. What I mean is, sometimes we react badly to different opinions when they attack our own or disagree with ones we find to be of a fundamental nature.

I have said this now for a few years and I will continue to say it until the day that I die, open up your mind to the possibility of what seems impossible or unlikely. I have ran into so much closed mindedness over the years where spiritual matters are concerned and I am here on the other side of that to tell you that out of everything you believe, you're probably wrong about half of it. Goodness, I'm probably wrong about a fair bit of my own spiritual beliefs.

Spiritual growth should be progressive, you should always be learning something and as a healthy counter balance, you should be having personal spiritual views proven wrong on a fairly regular basis. Why is that? Because, being wrong is part of what triggers growth! If you think your personal ideals are the absolute truth, how much room does that leave for expanding those beliefs and ideals?

Sharing with others is an excellent way to trigger these growth spurts of the spirit and when it's done in the proper mentality, you gain a good deal of satisfaction and fulfillment from the sharing *even* if you are proven wrong or challenged to the point of having to reexamine your belief system. In other words, your spiritual development won't stagnate from lack of stimulation.

In fact, I believe so strongly in the idea of sharing not just spiritual ideas but life experiences as a whole, that at twenty eight, I'm working on an autobiography of parts of my life. From disabled farm boy, to pastor, to personal struggles with my personality and identity, and everything in between. I believe that my story will have use to someone out there. More importantly, I believe your story could do the same.

We are creatures built for communal sharing. So I say, let's get together more often and bring that natural design to it's fullest potential.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Judgement And Forgiveness


Over the course of many years, I have come to learn many very important lessons regarding spiritual freedom. One of the hardest and yet most important lessons, has to do with judgement. I think no clearer lessons can be learned by mankind than to turn loose of our tendencies to pass harsh judgement on anyone and anything that doesn't fit our own definitions of normal, right, or acceptable. Now, I'm not saying some types of judgment aren't warranted or wise, but I believe we have to accept the things we are qualified and capable of judging and recognize those things which we have no right whatsoever to judge about a person or their actions.

For instance, judging criminals is a must in our society for the purpose of keeping the peace and maintaining order in the world. However, I think we must stop and realize that if we're going to punish people and judge them, those judgements only go as far as this world will let them. It is stupid to think that we can safely say that the punishments we dish out in this world carry over to anything beyond this existence. Punishing people for crimes is a good thing but can you also at the same time forgive them of those crimes?

This is one of the most important lessons we as human beings can ever hope to learn and it is an essential one to learn if we ever hope to make it out of the dark ages we call our social existence. For as advanced and evolved as we are, we're still a race of nothing more than toddlers when it comes to the humane treatment of one another regardless of crime or trespass.

I preached a sermon on this subject in 2001, two weeks after the 9/11 disaster that struck New York to a crowd of mixed reactions. I told people that the crimes were terrible and atrocious by most human standards but that our challenge as Christians was to sincerely forgive the ones who had carried them out. Some people agreed with me, others bit their tongue and silently tried to act indifferent to the message.

I didn't realize it at the time, but I was beginning to understand a fundamental bit of information. When I first started toying around with this idea, it was hard for even me to swallow. The idea that horrible actions may go forgiven in whatever comes after this life, was unacceptable to me. It wasn't until I read the book "If Grace Is True: Why God Will Save Every Person" by Philip Gulley & James Mulholland, that I truly began to open my eyes to such a concept.

Now, if you're like I was, a die hard conservative Christian who suddenly finds yourself finding some of what you live by in modern Christianity suspect, this book is a must read because it will open doors for you that you never thought were possible to step through before. The authors pretty much destroy the theory of hell and eternal damnation, speculating that eternal punishment would bring no glory to God whatsoever. They ask which would bring more happiness and glory to an all loving God, eternally damning someone or forgiving them of their trespasses?

They use Hitler as an example and argue that people like him are not in hell right now, because it brings absolutely no glory to God. In this day and age, I challenge all of you to consider 9/11 our Hitler because it stirs emotions like nothing in our lifetime ever has. I'm not saying people like that shouldn't be punished, but part of the recovery process *after* punishment, is forgiveness. If you can truly forgive the people who do evil, then friends I can personally guarantee you that you will find yourself able to cope with anything this life has to throw at you.

In the long run, if we're going to judge anything, why not judge judgement? We need to learn to temper our judgment with a little bit of unconditional love and compassion. Evil isn't going to be tamed with more evil after all. Only when evil has absolutely no fuel, no reason to exist, will it die off to such a degree that we will believe paradise has come at last.

Recognize wrong for what it is, punish wrong doing in order to prevent it in the future, but after that learn to forgive wrong doing in your heart, in person to the wrong doers if possible. Our lives as humans seem to be a constant inner battle of good and evil, if we can temper that then we can ultimately come together as a race of beings.

Thursday, January 29, 2009



Greetings, my name is Minister Robert Alen Butler and I would like to welcome you to my blog. Here, we're going to explore some of the mysteries and misconceptions surrounding religion and faith. At the root of all doctrines, behind every theology and at the core of every faith, there is one universal truth that remains a fact for the vast majority of humanity. Beyond the bibles, well outside the churches and seminaries, a great many of us have a desire to simply be spiritual beings.

The problem is, that most of us either get lost in the rules or find our heads spinning too quickly due to the vast amount of scriptures and commandments to learn. Honestly, do we really need a hundred different ways to pray and for all you Catholics out there, why do we have to get up and down a million times at every service? What's with all of the laws of Christianity and who on earth gave human beings the right to dictate who is holy and who isn't, in the name of God?

Religion has been responsible for some of the most horrible events in humankind's history and continues to be the cause of a great deal of suffering around the world today. Tyrants and warlords who think they all have it right, religious leaders who claim to know what God wants from us. The truth is, that for as much as faiths like Christianity want to deny their affiliation with politics, they are in fact a political system all their own.

How many people who want to genuinely be a person of good faith end up a prisoner of that faith? I have seen so many people suffer at the hands of religion for no other reason than they tried to be a part of their religion. People are suffering and hurting all over the world, struggling with personal issues that they want help with, not lectured for or criticized about. I know people who have killed themselves in the end because they could not live up to religion's expectations of that really what we wish to be our legacy as a race of people?

I have seen poor people in financial destitution fork over their last penny to the church because of a biblical promise God made to the faithful who give, expecting three fold in return, only to find their homes foreclosed on and their lives ruined. Is this really the way to enlightenment? Most of us who live in the 21st century would say of course not if it weren't for the subtle and charming way religion can suck us in without us even realizing it.

What people fail to realize is that religious organizations know they're doing it too. I've played the game, I know how it works. In fact, you give me the right kind of person and I could make them believe I am the holy emissary of the most high order of radishes and get at least someone to follow me, and in doing so, eventually get masses to do the same. If you can make one person believe in your story, your message, that's all it takes to start a movement.

I'm probably doing just that right now actually. I'm sure at least one person reading this introduction is nodding their head agreeing with me completely. What do you think I could turn that agreement with my views into if i really tried? Makes you wonder doesn't it? Well, no fears, I'm not out to start the next vegie tales cult movement. What I am looking for though, is a little bit of self awareness on the part of people out there.

There is a better way to spiritual happiness and it's as simple as looking in the mirror. True spirituality is as unique and individual a thing as you yourself. It isn't about Gods or Goddesses, it's about you finding your own path to spiritual well being. Some people get there with the praying and the bibles and the sermons and the singing but it isn't for everyone and it certainly isn't the only way to reach that level of awareness.

These are the things I am going to explore in my blog and make no mistake, I'll be criticizing Christianity a lot, Catholicism, Islam, and I'm as blunt about my views on them as a person can be. I mean seriously, what does a religious organization who puts someone in charge who has to have his communion wafer chewed for him so he can gum it, expect from it's priests? Let's get with the times people, let the poor bastards marry!