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About mystictrek

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    Advanced Member
  • Birthday 01/19/1947

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  • Location
    NY state -- along the Erie Canal
  • Interests
    I'm a retired Presbyterian Pastor. I retired early because my wife's career took off and I was ready for a change. I'm trying to write a lot and work on promoting what I call The New Church for the New Age. My website and blog are mostly devoted to this project. I don't see my calling as a call to start a new religion. I simply see myself as a reporter or messenger seeking to bring together and empower people of faith who are working to expand God's realm of abundance, joy, wisdom, beauty, love, truth, peace, justice and freedom.<br /><br />I am promoting 12 disciplines to heavenly awareness: stillness, silence, solitude, simplicity, detachment, discernment, devotion, delight, humility, healing, holiness and heavenliness. <br /><br />I like Baseball and I was delighted last year when the Red Sox finally won the World Series. I lived in Boston in the 60s and 70s (Northeastern University & Boston University School of Theology). I lived in Chicago 1980-82 when I got a D. Min. at Chicago Theological Seminary. I lived in Dearborn, MI when the Tigers won the WS in 1984. They got off to a 35-5 start that year. Sparky Anderson was such a great manager, a pastor to his team I think. You guessed it, my favorite movie is FIELD OF DREAMS.<br /><br />I like Rock'n'Roll and wrote my D. Min. project focused on Rock'n'Roll as Play, Protest, Passage and Prayer. Harvey Cox is probably my favorite theologian. I also like John Biersdorf who I had the privilege to study with when I was in Michigan. Harrell Beck, The OT Prof. at BU School of Theology for many years was a major mentor as were several pastors. My favorite all time R&R band is The Who. I need to also mention Chuck Berry, Bruce Springsteen, John Lennon, Bob Dylan, Todd Rundgren, Kate Bush, Peter Gabriel, U2, Van Morrison, Annie Lennox, Cyndi Lauper and the Cranberries. There are more but I will leave that to another discussion.<br /><br />I'm a grandfather now. Emily was born on 4/21/04<br /><br />My name is John but here I go by Mystictrek.<br /><br />I have lived in NJ, MA, IL, MI NC and now NY (upstate). I have been in upstate NY 1988-2002 and now 2005- . Most recently my wife's career took us to Chapel Hill NC and Amherst MA, 2 great towns. Now we are living in 2 places to be near family (Utica area) and job (Rochester).<br />
  1. In the past 2 decades, Bill & Hill have been a thorn on the side of the powerful and privileged of America. Billions of dollars have been spent to convince us that they are sleezy and power-hungry. The plutocracy hates them because, they, more than anybody else, have been successful at reducing their power and influence. Don't let the media or "the vast rightwing conspiracy" define Bill and Hill. Hillary is now the comeback kid once again. Why do the common people, the average Joes and Jeans, keep putting the Clintons on top? The media bashes them. The affluent Liberals bash them. Think about it. I believe Hillary Clinton is a genuine and sincere fighter for us and that drives the plutocrats crazy. I believe they fear Clinton in the White House far more than Obama. I also believe Hillary Clinton will be a better President than her husband. One example: She opposed NAFTA privately when Bill and Al Gore were pushing it through Congress with mostly Republican votes. Think about it.
  2. +++ That's certainly not the question Jesus of Nazareth would say is crucial. It is by our fruits that they will know who we are ... the fruits of love in action. A Christian is one who knows that we are all loved unconditionally and that we are all called to spread this good news inviting people near and far to the feast of abundant life without conditions. It is imperative that every human being is included in the abundance. This requires devotion to the mission of creating and maintaining peace and justice for all.
  3. Please read "Ilan Pappe on How Israel was Founded on Ethnic Cleansing" and other articles by this important historian. The more I look at the current disaster in Israel-Palestine, the more I realize that history must not be ignored. The fiction of the official Israeli version of history must be challenged and challenged and challenged again until the Israelis and the European and American enablers of Israel come to their senses. Only then can a real just solution be achieved. love, john + http://www.abundancetrek.com & http://www.abundancetrek.com/blog + "The spirit of liberty is the spirit of not being too sure you are right.” – Judge Learned Hand
  4. Hillary has to run on her husband's record so she does seem conservative compared to Obama. I think the times have changed and people are ready to move in a more liberal direction than in 1993 when Bill took over as a minority President with an unruly Democratic majority which soon lost control of congress. So, I believe Hillary would be far more liberal than her husband with people like Nancy Pelosi fighting for her program. Same with Obama who is actually more conservative than you might think. He works closely with the Daley machine and is loved by the nuclear power and coal power interests. I really don't know what's behind all that wonderful rhetoric. I see Hillary as a fighter for the working people. I see Obama as one who wants to please everybody. Very few people in the media have focused on the gender issue. It's huge but it is swept under the rug. Men have a real problem with Hillary. If only women were voting, Hillary would have had this nomination wrapped up on Super Tuesday. The men on the media and the women who act like men in the media set the tone. It's OK to bash Hillary. It's not OK to bash Obama.
  5. I believe that Hillary is much more consistent on gay rights. At a rally, one of Obama's supporters who gave a speech was a homosexual man who was healed of that "disease." Many blacks are opposed to gay rights with passion. Obama is a politician even if he seems like the Messiah at times.
  6. I'm probably giving too much advice since every one is different but I would pay off the highest interest card as much as possible and pay the minimum due on all others. That's the fastest way to get the monthly finance charges down which soon makes more money available to pay off the cards with less interest. Don't ever be late on one of those special rates. One late payment allows them to go the highest interest rate for the rest of the loan. See the fine print. They also collect 3 per cent or more right at the start of those special offers. See the fine print. I'm sure it will work out. Simply paying attention gets amazing results quickly. A few months of austerity (simplicity) followed by a discipline of staying within budget can change the balance sheet forever. It sure did for us.
  7. Actually, 2 things were important to me when we realized we had to get serious about budgeting and saving in August 2000. 1 -- I didn't want to file for bankruptcy or sign on to some kind of debt counselling program. 2 -- I did want to continue using a credit card for all purchases so we could get miles for travel and because I would have felt so defeated if we only used cash or checks. Another benefit is that credit card purchases are easy to track. I entered every purchase -- credit card, check, cash -- into the Quicken program. I still do except that I budget a $150 per month for personal cash expenses. If we go over, I put it in "miscellaneous expenses" which I budget at about $200 per month. Every month became a victory even in the fall of 2000 as I carefully tracked every penny and saw that our debt was being reduced faster than our 4-year plan called for. When you pay the full amount due on a credit card by the monthly due date, there is absolutely no finance charge. The key is to track every penny, not to stop using a credit card. But just one credit card! Simply pay down all the other cards as quickly as possible. Both of you then need to look at the monthly statement of the one card you continue to use and see that every expense was budgeted. Mary learned to trust me again very quickly. I haven't paid a finance charge or a late fee on that one credit card in more than 7 years. All other accounts were closed when the balances were finally paid up. We were at about 70,000 dollars in credit card debt in August 2000. By 2004, it was zero and it has stayed zero. The first few months are really important because that's when you get the finance charges to become more and more reasonable. Track the amount month after month and declare victory month after month as you find yourselves paying less and less money in finance charges to the credit card companies. Since we could budget a little money for dining out, we could celebrate each month at a restaurant. It also felt good to keep accumulating miles for trips. We love to travel. The more we paid down the debt and paid every card on time, the lower the interest rates became. I think our average in 2000 was about 11 per cent. It went down to 7 within about 2 years and then ZERO when there was no more credit card debt (3 years). I felt such delight as I watched our monthly finance charge shrink from around $600 a month to about $400 a month in the first year and then about $200 a month by the end of the second year. A lot of money becomes available for things you want and need.
  8. That's a good interpretation of that message and it is supported by Pauline theology. Paul reminds us over and over again that we are weak and powerless except when we live in God's sufficient grace. I particularly like 1 Corinthians 1:18-25 and 2 Corinthians 12:1-10.
  9. In forum after forum, I have try to bring some truth to this longstanding conflict between Arab & Jew in the Holy Land. Let us remember a very famous and very important quote: "The first casualty of war is truth." The Arab versus Jewish war, and it is a war, goes back to the nineteenth century. In the Palestine of the Ottoman Empire, Jews and Moslems and Christians, got along pretty well in that region. And there was indeed room for more. The troubles began when a colonial power, the UK, decided to impose its will on a native population. The British took a census in the early 1920s. There were 600,000 Arabs and 50,000 Jews. There was only a little conflict because there was still plenty of room for even more people. The Jews kept coming and the British encouraged them to keep coming. They bought more and more land and the native Arabs began to feel the squeeze. They began to agitate for independence so that the native population could solve the problem at home rather than aliens in London. We are now dealing with the tragic consequences of not allowing that independence to take place in the 1920s or 1930s when the Arab majority would most likely have created a state which was open to Jews, like most Arab nations at the time, but with a limited immigration policy. Now that's something most of us citizens of the USA can appreciate, isn't it?
  10. I don't know if this will help or not but I will share anyway. As the 90s came to an end, my wife and I were in serious debt. Our son had died in 1994 which kep Mary from work for more than a year. Our budget was totally based on 2 full time workers -- minister and teacher. So, the debt began to accumulate in 1993 and 1994. It got worse as my daughter went to college (1992-1996) and Mary went for a Ph.D in Nursing (1992, 1995-1999). I kept the growing debt a secret until the day that we filled out an application for a loan for a new car in 1999. Mary was furious! But I still feel good about it because she probably would have stopped her Ph.D work and gotten a job. I knew that her salary as a Professor would be much higher than her previous salaries (or mine for that matter!). But, The first year of her work as a Professor showed no decrease in our debt. When I didn't keep her informed of this, she once again was furious. She wanted to go for bankruptcy but I didn't want to do that. I was pretty confident we could begin to reduce our debt if we worked at it and she agreed to try. She went out and bought QUICKEN. We created a plan to eliminate our credit card debt in 4 years. Within a couple of months, we knew we were on the right track. We reduced debt much more rapidly than the plan called for and could still go out to eat once in a while and take some great vacations. We also began to put a lot of extra money into a 401 K plan for retirement. That reduces taxes significantly. Now, our only debt is our house mortgage which we hope to pay off completely by the time Mary retires. I retired 5 years ago which was a dream come true. Without QUICKEN and a solid plan for debt reduction and then saving for retirement, that dream would not have been realized. I remember feeling weighed down by that debt. As soon as we developed a plan and quickly got ahead of the plan, that weight fell off my shoulder in an instant. It was even miraculous. One more thought. We didn't stop using a credit card but decided to pay off one credit card (British Airways Chase VISA) every month and get miles for future trips. Since August 2000, I have never allowed any credit card debt to accumulate on that card and we use it for just about everything. I pay a $65 annual fee and nothing else but the cost of our purchases.
  11. Wow. What a list of questions. Many of these questions have been raised before and the archives of this forum provides many wonderful thoughts. I don't know where to begin. Please try to narrow down your quest. Which question is really important right now in your spiritual journey? That famous Rilke quote comes to mind: "Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer." -- Rainer Maria Rilke love, john + www.abundancetrek.com & www.abundancetrek.com/blog + "My religion consists of a humble admiration of the illimitable superior spirit who reveals himself in the slight details we are able to perceive with our frail and feeble mind." -- Albert Einstein
  12. + It is reassuring to know that many Israelis want to face their history rather than deny it. The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions offers "JNF Signs Will Mention destroyed Palestinian Villages" which appeared in Haaretz on Feb. 3. READ ARTICLE love, john + www.abundancetrek.com & www.abundancetrek.com/blog + "Why 99, you know we have to murder and kill and destroy in order to preserve everything that's good in the world." --Maxwell Smart to Agent 99
  13. Dear SOMA, There is, of course, a lot of truth in what you have said here. I might have totally agreed with you at one time. But I think the appeal of "arrogant, fundamental Christianity" goes deeper than that. I think it's a spell cast by the "world ruler" or the Domination System" as Walter Wink describes it so well. A good summary of Wink's amazing scholarship on the principalites and powers is at http://www.bridges-across.org/ba/vr_confront.htm People under this spell have found a lot of fellowship and joy and meaning in the community of "arrogant, fundamental Christianity" but are still, down deep, pragmatic and kind and gentle people. This morning there is great hope in America and on the planet as the GOP electorate has said NO to the plutocracy of both the Rigid Ideology camp and the Religious Right. I believe deep in my heart that the spell has been broken. We have been a sick nation in need of healing. The growing power of the Religious Right is a symptom but not the cause of our sickness. It goes deeper than that. The GOP electorate has rejected both the Religious Right and rigid ideology. This is really Good News for America and for the planet. Both camps, the Religious Right and the Rigid Ideologists, are in turmoil as they see their era of domination come to an end. Obviously, a Democratic victory in November would be a knock out blow over both camps but McCain, a centrist and a pragmatist would be still be a huge change. The CheneyBushRove plutocratic era is over! Other plutocrats will still find many ways to thwart the will of the people in the new era which has now begun but at least one of the beasts has been slain. I am talking about demons, the principalities and powers, the "world ruler." (see John 12:31) If Romney somehow wins next Tuesday and somehow wins in November, then forget everything I just said. Romney is CheneyBushRove all dressed up as an olympic god! He is down but not out. The Domination System is still hoping he can win but is now turning to McCain and both tempting him and intimidating him. Read Luke 4:1-13. The plutocrats are also using these tried and true practices of those who would keep their privileged status in tact on Clinton & Obama. IOW, those of us who are on the side of God's “new heaven and new earth” (see Revelation 21:1-4) have our work cut out for us no matter who wins in November. But we can still celebrate the victory of love and justice which we have already won over those demons which gave us CheneyBushRove. love, john + www.abundancetrek.com & www.abundancetrek.com/blog + "The day will come when, after harnessing space, the winds, the tides and gravitation, we shall harness for God the energies of love. And on that day, for the second time in the history of the world, humankind will have discovered fire." -- Teilhard de Chardin
  14. +++ I guess not! On another forum, a friend said he is buying Elizabeth Hamilton's Untrain Your Parrot. love, john + www.abundancetrek.com & www.abundancetrek.com/blog + We are intimately, intricately and infinitely connected by a matrix of unconditional, unlimited and uniting love which is miraculous, mysterious and marvellous.
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