The Spiritual Connection Corner

Written by Rev. Mark Schlessman

The Spiritual Connection Corner is my attempt to transition the given Biblical Texts into the language of Empathic Communication. Empathic communication is based on the premise that non-violent language is a language of life, a giving from the heart as one person connects with another in sharing feelings and needs in a manner where everyone’s needs may be met. My history with the Biblical texts reveal a language of violence. This may be shocking for you to read but I believe it to be true. A crucial aspect of empathic communication is that everyone is doing the best they can do, this applies also to the Biblical writers. In their writings we are able to see the feelings and needs that all humanity share – hope, fear, anger, love, community, etc. At times these feelings and needs are hidden due the inability to communicate what the author is truly feeling and needing.

 

I will take these passages and comment on the feelings and needs of the author and then produce the passages in empathic language. I am not attempting to place the author or the history of the text in negative light, rather I desire to give light to the text in a manner that will allow more understanding and contribution to those who read it. Mark

 

“When we hear the other person’s feelings and needs, we recognize our common humanity”

 

Marshall Rosenberg

Scary Honesty – Or the Truth Shall Set You Free!

  John 8:31,32   31 So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”   How often do we let our fear of the perceived outcome stop us from being honest about what we are feeling and needing? Can you remember being taught how to respond, “Say you are sorry,” “Say thank you.” “Shake hands and quit arguing.” How many times have we been in a situation where we did not communicate what we were feeling or needing, but rather went along with the crowd? How often have we not been honest because we were afraid of the outcome if we were honest? How often – weekly, daily, by the minute. In this passage Jesus communicates how to be free – by the truth we are free.   One of the first stories I read about Marshall Rosenberg was a story when he received a large check from someone who said he should use it to buy something the donor had in mind. Marshall looked at the check and then handed it back to the donor and said he could not accept it for the item the ...
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Enemy Image

A reflection on Matthew 5:44-46 Years ago in my New Testament class in seminary my professor, Dr. Robert Unmack would often sing, “What the world needs now is love sweet love.”  He would sing it with a sickingly sweet drool that would make us laugh.  I often wondered if he was making fun of the song or the concept.  Love.  In Matthew Jesus invites us to love our enemies and to even pray for those who persecute us.  What has developed is something totally different than what Dr. Unmack would sing or what Jesus invited us to do.  Why? Let look at an example of what is happening.  You are driving and come to a stop light.  As you glance over to the side of the road you notice someone dressed differently than you.  This person is wearing clothes that are stained, has a long beard, is smoking a cigarette and is holding a sign that says, “Homeless, anything helps, God Bless You!”  What are your first thoughts?  Maybe they are: “Why should I give him money if he can afford cigarettes!” or “Get a job you lazy slob!” or maybe, “If I give him money he will just go out and ...
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Plenty

I have been reading the book of Matthew in the Christian Scriptures and have come across two stories of Jesus feeding thousands of people (Matthew 14:13-21, Matthew 15:29-39).  Rather should I say Jesus, with some help from the disciples, feeds thousands.  Now it would seem easy to say this is what some might consider a miracle.  Many people with nothing, being fed with a few fish and few loaves of bread.  Some would say this is something that only Jesus could do.  However, I am wondering if a meaning of this story is simply that there is plenty for all.   If you read the story closely, you can hear the fear in the disciple’s voices as they ask Jesus to send the people home before it gets too late.  If you read the story closely, you can see the fear in the disciple’s faces as Jesus tells them to “feed” the people.  What should they do, how should they do it?  There isn’t enough.  Ah, but Jesus shows the disciples and us that there is enough, there is plenty. When we are connected to the God within, when we are conscious of the God who created us and thrives in us, there is plenty.  We know there is plenty.  When we listen ...
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The Lost Sheep

  Luke 15:3-7 3 So he told them this parable: 4 "What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost, until he finds it? 5 And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. 6 And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, `Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost.' 7 Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance. Behind the Message At times there seems to be a lot of fear from the authors of the New Testament. In this parable that seems to be the case. The fear behind the writing seems to come from what the author is telling himself; that there must be repentance from wrong doing in order to connect with the Divine, with God. To communicate this story the author describes the rejoicing that occurs when a lost sheep is found (apparently by God). To the author it seems that his ...
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The Parable of the Net

Matthew 13:47-50 47 “Once again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was let down into the lake and caught all kinds of fish. 48 When it was full, the fishermen pulled it up on the shore. Then they sat down and collected the good fish in baskets, but threw the bad away. 49 This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous 50 and throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. When you are able and willing to connect to your feelings and needs and realize that everything you do is a strategy to meet needs, it’s like a fisherman who cast his net and catches the largest catch of fish ever. Ah, but when you are not connected and you are so lost, it feels as if the end of the world has come and you were cast out and are all alone in a terrible place. You feel frustrated and hopeless because your needs are not being met. You tell yourself how rotten you are, how terrible you are, if only you would have done the “right” thing.   Know ...
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Philippians 4:6, 7

6Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. If you are anxious in any situation it means your needs are not being met. Connect to the Divine Flow within and realize your needs. By doing this your requests to have your needs met are being made to the Divine and you will find peace. It is this connection that will deliver peace and understanding and will give understanding when needs are not met. This is accomplished by connecting to the Divine – what a gift ...
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The Lost Sheep

Luke 15:3-7 3 So he told them this parable: 4 "What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost, until he finds it? 5 And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. 6 And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, `Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost.' 7 Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance. Behind the Message At times there seems to be a lot of fear from the authors of the New Testament. In this parable that seems to be the case. The fear behind the writing seems to come the story that the author is telling himself that there must be repentance from wrong doing in order to connect with the Divine, with God. To communicate this story the author describes the rejoicing that occurs when a lost sheep is found (apparently by God). To the author it seems that ...
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The Lord’s Prayer in Empathic Language

The Lord’s Prayer   Matthew 6:9-13 (King James Version) 9 Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.  10 Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.  11 Give us this day our daily bread.  12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.  13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.     The Lord’s Prayer in Empathic Language Eternal Flow who abides in all creation Holy is your name. May we awaken to your kingdom. May we rest in your Presence no matter where we are. For in you all of our needs our met. Let us connect to ourselves so we might connect to others and gain understanding of their strategies, just as we connect to ourselves and gain understanding of our own strategies. For when we are connected we are clear on our needs. When we are connected we rest in the compassion of the heart and the peace of the Flow. For in You Eternal Flow, there is peace, love, compassion and life ...
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Taking Notice

I drove by a church the other day and noticed the sign out front. It stated, “Come to church on Sunday, God will be here.” I thought this is pretty different, isn’t God always “here”. I have the understanding that God is present always, within us, outside us, and around us – you cannot move, breathe, or exist without the presence of God. So, what is it then? I think it is about taking notice of the Presence wherever we go and do, wherever we are, at all times taking notice of the Divine moving to bless us, show us compassion and being present with us. You know what is ironic for me, as I read this church sign – I knew God was with me right then as I was reading the sign. You know how I know – because I was open to the Presence ...
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The Truth Shall Set You Free or Scary Honesty

    31 So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”   How often do we let our fear of the perceived outcome stop us from being honest about what we are feeling and needing? Can you remember being taught how to respond, “Say you are sorry,” “Say thank you.” “Shake hands and quit arguing.” How many times have we been in a situation where we did not communicate what we were feeling or needing, but rather went along with the crowd? How often have we not been honest because we were afraid of the outcome if we were honest? How often – daily, weekly, by the minute. In this passage Jesus communicates how to be free – by the truth we are free.   One of the first stories I read about Marshall Rosenberg was a story when he received a large check from someone who said he should use it to buy something the donor had in mind. Marshall looked at the check and then handed it back to the donor and said he could not accept it for the item the donor ...
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