Sense of Presence Forum

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Welcome to the Sense of Presence forum. The idea behind it is to provide a judgment-free space to explore unusual experiences. We can use this space to explore when people are most likely to recognize and remember such experiences; how people determine whether an experience is positive or negative; and what science can tell us about these remarkable events. Feel comfortable to share your own experiences and please be respectful of others who do so. Nothing posted on this side of the page is posted in the more public setting of facebook.

If you want to leave a thought without posting it online you can contact the author directly.


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  20. ”’Vedere offerta”’
    A Villafranca di Verona e in vendita una stupenda villa singola con mq 3000 di terreno, mq della villetta 320 e finiture di alto pregio tra cui: riscaldamento a pavimento, impianto fotovoltaico ad alta efficienza, impianto climatizzazione, impianto allarme e videosorveglianza, serramenti di altissima qualita’ con tende veneziane incassate nel vetro, idromassaggio, due caminetti, pompa di calore.
    La villa e cosi costruita:
    P.Terra: salone, soggiorno, cucina abitabile, due bagni, 3 camere da letto.
    P.Interrato: in ampia e curata taverna, un locale studio, ripostiglio, cantina, sala bigliardo, bagno, lavanderia.
    P.Primo: due (bi locali) appartamenti con entrate indipendenti. Cosi composti: salotto con cucina, camera matrimoniale, bagno e balcone.
    La villetta, inoltre, comprende: un terrazzo coperto con riscaldamento a pavimento con un eventuale chiusura con vetrata ed ampliamento metratura casa.
    Completano la proprieta: posti auto coperti e scoperti. La villa e completamente recintata.
    Acquistando la villetta avete la possibilita di coprire completamente, se fosse necessario, il mutuo( che eventualmente stipulerete) del intera villa affittando i due bi locali situati al primo piano.

    ReplyAlbertwep
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  23. I had searched for the reference to St. Augustine saying when we read, we are listening to g_d. One response I found was Dr. Lurhmann’s CNN article from 2012 (3?).

    In the course of exploring one flavor of institutional Christianity, I had sat before the reserved sacrament. As I lay, in my reverie, along a dirt road, JC went by. He was frowning and seemed angry. My body rose up, supine, and floated after him. He crumpled me up like a piece of paper and stuck me in his pocket.

    I was very distressed, especially I wanted to know if my mind was making this up or if it was “Real”. The priest could not tell me, but encouraged me to explore it as a calling. I finally determined that the dogmas of institutional Christianity did not matter and fell away from practice.

    May we walk in love.

    ReplyLiz
  24. Hi Bob, Thx for relating this for us. I would like to speak more with you about this; I will only be 70 in 2031.

    ReplyLiz
  25. I am not writing so much about an experience, but to tell you that I have long believed the same idea that a person’s belief can make something true, if not to the greater universe, then at least to them.

    Quite some time ago I got an urge to write before falling asleep. I wrote about the idea of what I called a psychosomatic reality. The idea was that while we all perceive things differently, what make any event or concept is the perception of any individual. Therefore if I experience something one way, it is not untrue that you may experience differently, and therefore believed something else entirely took place.

    Aside from just experience this holds true for true belief. If I believe something strongly enough, then to me at least, then it is true. It’s not so dissimilar to the event of a person feeling sick because they believe they are sick. If your mind believes something strongly enough it becomes true, at least to you. There are several cases of this effect happening to medical patients, the most well known concepts being those of mass hysteria, and the placebo effect.

    Something I find interesting though is that my field of study is far removed from psychology and anthropology, I am actually a student of physics,. A study that is supposed to have an absolute concrete basis in mathematics and fact. My ideas however come from some of the concepts of quantum physics that show that only once measured does a quantity have a value, and often when observing quantum particles, multiple researchers can observe the same particle simultaneously doing different things.

    I just felt that some on here might appreciate my views, and may find them interesting, and that you, being of similar thought might have some use for another perspective.

    ReplyRaymond
  26. After reading an article/column you wrote in the NY Times recently I am motivated to share with you an experience in 1981 that transformed my life.

    I was in an extremely low and painful point in my life (33 years old at that time) – marriage, finances, alcohol, etc. I went on a silent retreat at a Jesuit retreat center close to my home in New Orleans. I had been raised very Catholic and at that point in my life I had a very strong Catholic belief system.

    In my room was a bible – which certainly at that time in history was a new experience – Catholics then were not encouraged to read the bible. as the retreat was silent and was looking to fill up my time I started reading Matthew’s gospel. It seemed that on every page Jesus was saying “the doctor does not come for the well but for the sick”. I certainly felt sick ( probably depression) and so this was powerful for me.

    On the third night of the retreat I was assigned 30 minutes in the chapel to visit the Blessed Sacrament ( a Catholic practice that Jesus is present in the consecrated host). As I was praying, and visualizing Jesus’ presence, he spoke- out loud in a very clear voice- and said I love you Mike. This was God telling me he loved me.

    I find myself incapable of describing this experience in words. If I try I would say astonishing and transformative. It is now 33+ years later and while I no longer have a very Catholic belief system the reality of that experience has not diminished. The entire trajectory of my life changed, and continues to change, from that experience.

    When I read your writing I realized that many people have had these kind of experiences. I wanted to share mine with you.

  27. The morning after we had found out that my wife was pregnant with twins, I was preparing our breakfast. The first egg that I cracked open contained two yolks! I called her into the kitchen and we marveled over this “sign”. The next egg I opened … also had two yolks. This had never happened before or since, and there was nothing unusual in the way we had acquired the eggs (they were purchased from our usual grocery).

    As a thorough-going skeptic what this event taught me is the terrible power of coincidence to combine with the human brain’s pursuit of patterns everywhere to convince one that one has had a truly supernatural experience and has in some special way been touched by the Cosmos.

    ReplyDoug
  28. I have included this experience in a play I have written and now perform as a one-person show called The Actual Dance. In 1973 I was in the hospital room as my mother was dying from metastasized breast cancer. There were two nurses in the room and me. They each held a writs from the opposite side of the bed and counted down as my mother took her last breath. And as she said “she’s gone” I begin to turn away from the bed, when out of the corner of left eye I noticed a giant swirl, a spinning tuft of a white cloud that at the speed of light spun out of the room. And I knew at that instant exactly what it was. But I didn’t know how to handle it because I had just seen something I knew I wasn’t “suppose” to be able to see. I dwelled on that experience for nearly six years of my life and finally saw a psychiatrist who helped me only by allowing me to tell the story. Over a decade later, while traveling with my wife abroad in Budapest Hungary, walked past an art gallery and I stopped in short and froze as I saw a painting that included within it the exact same “cloud” or “tuft” and I knew too in that instant that the painter had seen in his life what I had seen. I have since come to understand that “life” exists in each of us in a tangible form and that I was privileged to experience that life force exit my mother at her last breath.

    • Thanks for bringing this story to light!

      ReplyEthan Leopold Brooks
  29. I was in the 6th grade at St. Joseph’s School in Yonkers, NY, and like any 11 year old boy in a class of 30 or so similarly aged boys, was doing whatever I could get away with without Sister Gertrude seeing me. (“Gravel Gertie” we called her, from a character in Dick Tracy.) And I was having a grand old time.
    At the time, my grandmother was across the street in Yonkers General Hospital recovering from a heart attack. Suddenly a wave of depression swept over me. To this day, and I’m 75, never have I felt anything like it. It did seem to abate though, and after about a half hour a knock was heard on our classroom door. Sister Gertrude answered and stepped out, and after a minute stuck her long, bony finger through the door and motioned for me to come out. My uncle was standing there and he said “Mom died’. I asked him “When?” and he said “about a half hour ago”.
    Were those two things connected, her dying and my feeling of tremendous loss? Was it her soul passing by me?
    My parents were gone and I lived with Mom, in the house where my family had lived for decades, and now I was alone. but I still feel she was saying goodbye and telling me things were not going to be easy.
    Whenever someone tells me a similar story and asks for an explanation all I can say is “I don’t know, but I understand how it is”.

  30. Two poems I wrote to remember my “experience”, which occurred on Oct 4th, 1990,,,@ 4:20 pm, local time, in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia…

    ” Surreal Eye

    Standing on the canyons lip, surrounded by fireflies, great dark river a mile
    below
    flows sluggishly to sea.
    In the western sky hangs a bloodshot eye,dark iris looks upon lands edge,
    sees life fall crying into the river below, struggle madly back to shore,
    washed clean of old
    memories.
    Lightening strikes ground beneath ill shod feet, shoes are blown off
    and grasping arms and legs morphed to hands and ancient tail find no
    purchase.
    Flying into the night, watch the great all seeing eye sink into the western
    sea.
    A voice is made to leave the land, a choice is made to abandon
    the known,
    head into dark horizon ahead,
    find the truth.
    Six limbed star flies higher, propelled on silent wings.
    Power blazes all around as altitude increases
    exponentially.
    Within the darkness there is nothing seen for there is
    no thing, no universe, no life but this one flying
    higher
    with no thought of fear, fears left behind upon the ground of evolution.
    All choices seen clear, without preconception.
    See the good, the bad.
    On the scales of justice good has won.
    With none to see or hear cry out into the night
    “Don’t care if you exist,
    I love you anyway.”

    Golden light rises up turning all thought inside out,,,
    if ecstasy is a word this must be it,,,
    if love is real this must be,,,,
    new heights achieved as darkness flees
    and all thinking,
    all time,
    cease.

    3-1-99
    G7

    Endings:

    Light,
    shining all around,
    golden,
    floodlight of my soul
    questions:
    three they came, first,
    Help,
    will you?
    Affirmation and exaltation,

    leads to,
    Something built to last?
    Say Love,
    say I,
    it’s here to stay.
    Affirmation and exaltation,

    then thirdly,
    Shadows,
    in your robes of fire
    Can you illuminate?
    Doubt,

    killer of will,
    brings me down,
    Earth,
    my resting place.

    GRA Aug. 31, 2008

    (Random comment, 2008)

    The end is not the point.
    It’s the journey, dufus.

    THAT’S really what it means,
    to be a mystic.

    ReplyGary Ansorge
  31. I loved reading when God talks back. Most of all, it gave me hope that I could have the kind of relationship with God that I hoped for–more immediate, alive, and intimate. The research studies that showed that the sense of God could be developed, like a skill or habit, was a huge revelation to me!

    Since reading it, I’ve joined a couple of 12-step programs. With their emphasis on Higher Power and choice, I’ve discovered that I can choose what God means to me and how I want to picture Him. And as I practice it, I can develop my sensitivity to God. Now, I have a new understanding of what faith is. I get to choose to “act as if,” believing that God is altogether good, generous, eternal, magical, healing, and with me, caring about the most intimate choices, even what I eat.

    Before, I kept waiting for proof in my life that God was these things, needing a link between the God of the Bible and the God of my contemporary life. Now, I’ve experienced that as I choose to believe what I want about God, that understanding of God grows. What a mystery!

    I do wish to know more about the kataphatic prayer exercises that increased awareness of God. I would like to experience God as immediate and with me always.

    ReplyTenny
  32. Dear Tanya,

    Thank you for your open inquiry into the presence of God in people’s lives. It is a central part in my life.

    When I was six years old, I resolved to know everything and apply that knowledge usefully. I engaged God: Give me the freedom to think whatever I need to (that you may exist or not, be good or not…) and I will always believe in you (regardless of what I know or think…) I felt as if God was watching me and that he seemed agreeable. I thought that I should ask for a sign, but then I thought twice, that any sign would always be superficial and questionable. So I told him: Please let your sign be that you did not give me a sign. If you should disagree, then you will give me a sign…

    Last year I completed an illustrated summary of my findings: “The Truth: From Relative to Absolute”. There is a free PDF http://www.selflearners.net/wiki/Truth/Book Chapter 4, “God Learns from Me”, includes the method by which I hear from God. It is a way of flattening out my mind and hearing from beyond it. It is based on my interpretation of the Lord’s Prayer.

    Currently, I have been praying in “twos and threes” with others here in Lithuania. I am writing a philosophy paper on the dynamics of how these interactions allow us to leverage each other’s freedom so as to act outside of the usual social norms.

    I have a Ph.D. in Math, and for 12 years I organized an online laboratory for independent thinkers around the world. But as you can imagine, my philosophical quest has been lonely, though immensely rewarding. It would thus be nice to hear from you or at least to share what I can.

    Andrius

    ReplyAndrius Kulikauskas
  33. TM Luhrmann
    I’m a Presbyterian minister whose primary work has been in the area of leadership development and change, both in and outside of the church.
    The areas of your research, Professor Luhrmann, are interesting to me, as I have encountered various social contexts where God’s presence is either very real or not at all. From my experience, it is the difference between charismatic and progressive enclaves of my denomination. The charismatic side, which would be those you have focused your research on, I find have a very difficult time dealing with institutional matters. Their experience of God is not bound by modern organizational structures. In Charles Taylor’s vernacular, their experience is personally very porous. It is personal to the point that their individual relationship with God supersedes all other authorities. On the other hand, the progressive side almost wholly sees God’s presence embedded in social and organizational structures. For the charismatic, identity is the presence of a spiritual relationship. For progressives, identity is polity.

    I stand apart from both. I’m an anomaly in every social setting I’m in, religious and secular. While I don’t fit with the “boundedness” a’ la Taylor of modern social, religious, ideological and organizational groups, I can fit it because I choose to do so through relationship. I understand the Theory of Mind concept because it is the context I live and work in every day.

    Presently, I am at the end of a two year term as an Interim Pastor in a small (150 member) Presbyterian church. It has been an extraordinarily fascinating and wonderful experience. In this church, there is a diverse mixture of charismatics, whose primary expression is through a ministry of healing prayer , traditional, life-long Presbyterian, family church types, and, some progressives. They are able to co-exist because the church has no clearly defined mission other than to be a family. There are fault lines that create fragility. It was the eruption of one of those that brought me to them two years ago. My work with them will finish in early September.

    I grew up in a very traditional Presbyterian home, which means it was moderate to conservative in most things. As a 17 year old, I had an experience of hearing God’s voice. It was on a youth group retreat, on a Friday night, in a small group discussion, when the boy next to me spoke very honestly about his life. It was then that I heard, “If he is this honest, there must be a God.” Up to that point in my life, the question of God was not one that had ever crossed my mind. I also had never heard a disembodied voice before. However, I knew then, that God was speaking, calling me into a relationship of call and service for the rest of my life. This was not a call into religious service, but, rather, a call to live as a disciple, following a typical Evangelical / charismatic path. Over the next 15 years, I lived within that Evangelical subculture, attending Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and serving an evangelical congregation in the Presbyterian Church US. While socially and spiritually, I was an evangelical, intellectually I could not cross that threshold. Today, I don’t use that term to identify myself. All I’m willing to say is that I’m a Christian, a Christ-follower and a Presbyterian. My relationships are diverse, and I find that, while I am not a Progressive in the contemporary sense, many of my closest associations are with people who are, and, with many who are not participants in any church. Go figure.

    In my early 30s, my first call was as a community minister in large city. One of my responsibilities was to serve as our neighborhood’s network of churches’ representative on the board of the local business association. It was this experience that led me to a calling in the field of leadership development. That was 30 years ago. It has remained the platform upon which everything that I’ve done since has been based. There was no disembodied voice, no transcendent presence involved in this discernment. It was simply a clear sense that this is where my contribution was to be found.
    In 1999, while on vacation with my family at a guest ranch in Jackson Hole, Wy., I heard God’s voice for the second time. I do interpret these experiences as God speaking to me. It is logical to me because I live in a world that is both spiritual and material, and highly “porous” and unbounded. I don’t believe in magic, but rather in a kind of set of parallel realities that need the other to thrive and make sense.

    That day, we were riding up into the hills, and we turned a bend, and there, before us, were the Grand Tetons displayed in all their panoramic glory. At that moment I heard, “It is time to stop talking about leadership, and lead.” I knew at that moment my life was changing, and that opportunities for leadership were on the way. Within the year, two significant opportunities emerged, and both were highly successful ventures.

    I began my leadership consulting practice in 1995. In retrospect, I was ill-prepared to start a business, much less a consultancy. Yet, somehow I have survived, and it has been more a platform for me to ask questions about people, organizations, society, etc. I am an observer of human behavior, trying to interpret what I see, and then develop tools for leaders that help them in their work. I’m very interested in how social structures form into institutions, and how those institutions change. In the end, my real work has been about change and the transitions that people and groups go through in life.

    I heard God’s voice one other time. It was in May of 2012. It was as my wife of 30 years and I were separating, eventually divorcing this pass May. At that time, I was in the midst of a job where I was conducting a major fund raising project for the Presbyterian campus ministries across the state of North Carolina. The day I moved out, I heard a voice say, “Everything is ending.” It was clear and unambiguous. Not only was my marriage ending, but I was terminated from the fund raising job two months later. That is how I ended up being available to become the interim pastor of this church.

    My closest relationships at this church are with those in the prayer ministry. When I’m there, I stay with one of the couples who are involved in this ministry. Through them, I have found emotional healing, love, acceptance, wisdom, and, direction for the future.
    My experience at this church has been my first deep encounter with what I find is similar to what you describe about Vineyard churches. While I can move into that context and function well and with authenticity, it is clear also that I am not one of them. I find that distinction comes from how they articulate God’s leading. There is a kind of passivism – they would say a waiting on the Lord – that is willing to not act until something discernible happens that suggests God’s leading. Coming from my more analytical leadership perspective, I find it difficult to understand how their discernment processes are not a form of fatalistic dependence upon God. I know that it is not viewed that way, but there are times when it certainly seems to be how it is in practice.
    With my charismatic friends, it is clear that we see the way God works in very different way. To me, their intimacy with God, which is deep and beautiful, sees a God that is even more difficult to know because that presence is a divine mystery. One result is their individual perceptions of Christ’s presence are held with greater authority than the church’s role in their lives. This makes the institutional nature of the church as the Body of Christ very problematic in an unsaid way. We all have our conflicting attitudes and philosophies about God and the church. The challenge is to find a common ground that allows for those with a very pietistic individualized faith to function in a congregation that is a part of a national denomination whose actions seem remote and often at odds with their own values and beliefs. I’d rather have this challenge than to be divided up into more homogeneous faith groups who existed as closed communities.
    While I would describe myself as a charismatic, nor, a Pentecostal, I do have a very vivid and real spiritual life, whereby I see God at work in virtually every aspect of my life. My interpretation is really based on what I consider a logical understanding of what the Scriptures describe as the purpose and nature of creation, and humanity’s role with it. I do not operate with a dualistic perspective that divides people into good and evil or righteous or unrighteous. Rather, my relationships function within the tension that each of us lives in the tension of good and evil present in our lives. We have the choice to choose to move toward one or the other. My sense is that the Holy Spirit is constantly drawing us towards the good, and is doing so through the agency of other human beings. In conclusion, I live in the parallel worlds of the spirit and the material, believing that those within the faith community are called to be the Body of Christ, both gathered and scattered, and that by the Spirit we are able to discern how our lives are to exhibit the life of Christ each day.

    ReplyEd
  34. This is the first of several presence stories I will share over the next week.

    My senior year in high school I went to a week night charismatic prayer service centered on the book of Revelations. The meeting was not far from my hometown in rural Maryland and I attended the meeting with two friends. I should explain that my friends were both newly devout Mennonites and I a newly devout Roman Catholic (much to the perplexity of my patient parents) We were all three pretty intensely engaged in our Christian faith, trying to make a break from the mid 70’s drug culture prevalent in our small town. I ended up by joining a Roman Catholic religious order, the Jesuits.

    The preacher that night was an older ex-Anglican priest (probably 50’s something). I still remember his light blue clerical shirt and roman collar – making him seem a priest and not a priest. Familiar and novel. I recall being put off by the “end time,” apocalyptic themes of the sermon. I was in a fairly detached and skeptical frame of mind, not comfortable with the charismatic style of prayer – praying in tongues, etc., which seemed far removed from the style of prayer I was accustomed to in my Roman catholic tradition. I had myself begun to prayer regularly, with the encouragement of our parish priest, following the writings of Thomas Merton.

    In any event, after his sermon there was an altar call. The preacher called up anyone who wanted to be “baptized in the Lord” to come forward. My two friends went up and I felt that I should go too, not wanting to stand out. I was also curious. As I stood in line I saw one person who the preacher laid hands on keel over. I recall feeling very skeptical about this and was a little apprehensive but still curious. Finally I reached the preacher. I don’t remember the specifics, but he laid hands on my head and I felt a wave or current pass through my body. It was as if I had been shocked but the shock was not electric. I recall a trembling feeling and feeling ecstatic and intensely joyful. I couldn’t wipe the grin off my face for several days. This higher energetic state and positive mood shift was not temporary. It lasted several weeks and added momentum to the deepening of my sense of faith and my still young calling to the priesthood. I eventually joined a charismatic prayer group while a Jesuit novice, although I continued to find the charismatic style of prayer an alien one.

    My sense of presence here was of a physical/spiritual energy that came from without, or which was conjured up within me from without, through another’s agency. It energized me and changed my “basal mood state”. It gave me a felt, embodied sense of the spiritual as joyous energy. I interpreted my experience then as being “of the Lord,” although a few years later I recognized that it might be susceptible to a variety of other interpretations in other religious or secular conceptual frameworks (e.g., as a release of energy in my “chakra system,”). I have experienced something with a a similar phenomenology (waves of energy, joy) though less intense and with a shorter refractory period, after many years of Buddhist vipassana meditation practice..

    ReplyDave
  35. It’s a mammoth playground built of mountains, hills, lakes, rivers, valleys, woodlands,and beaches. bdgeabafdced

    ReplyJohnf191
  36. When I was 8 years old, I was frightened that I would be a pathological liar if I continued to have uncontrollable lying episodes (the specifics of which I will leave out…:). I tried to make a vow of infinite truthfulness, and was surrounded by (largely invisible) spirits arguing against or just plain discussing the ramifications of doing so, and all offering anything from advice against doing so to outright antagonism. Some of the spirits seemed to be Mormons, for goodness sake, who were mad a Mormon wasn’t doing what I was doing. My mouth also stopped working, and I could not vocalize the decision. So I had to think it and then try to speak it, re-wording it and re-working it as I did so. Ultimately, what I decided, was that I would always do my best to speak the truth, no matter the consequences, and that I would try to possess the understanding that the truth was something that perhaps a human being might never ultimately completely understand. That said, I am more convinced than ever that there is a truth, and that true faith is faith in the truth, and that such truth has no room for a monotheistic male god/goddess/or hermaphrodite. Over the past 54 years, I have suffered excruciating pain to utter joy and happiness, while living a fulfilling life. What I have also come to understand is that the revelation of truth is restricted to those who seek it above all else….IN EVERY ASPECT OF THEIR LIFE. How can this be? It can be because the universe reflects, in its physical laws, the boundary conditions that make up the truth. So those that say, well, “the truth is the truth is a very stilted and uninteresting way to represent the universe”, have already taken the step off the lighted path through the darkness, such that the truth cannot be revealed to them…until they have a change of faith. You see, people want to absorb experience, without giving something up, thus golden orb gods, statues, sun gods, male-dominated-power-worship are born. But the truth is, that the simple acts, walking the dog, cooking a meal for the family, rescuing wetlands, or looking for truth in everyday experiences, is the true path, and it has nothing to do with today’s organized religions…because they have nothing whatsoever to do with it.

  37. ??????
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    ReplyPitekden
  38. FC Happold’s experience of a divine presence sounds a lot like what I feel when a spiritual presence talks with me through my wife, Cynthia, when she allows herself to go into a meditative trance-like state.

    In addition to the feeling of increased lightness in and around me, the feeling of being more myself than usual, the powerful sense of increased happiness, joy, peace, security, and certainty; there is also a powerful sense of unconditional acceptance and appreciation that I feel during this experience.

    Many of these experiences are described in a blog we created to share these experiences with others who are interested. It’s called Ask The Council (www.askthecouncil.com) because we present questions from readers to The Council and they answer from their non-physical point of view.

    Thank you, Tanya, for bringing some academic insight and respectability to the subject of a divine presence in our human lives.

  39. Your work has made me think about culture and memory. I know I have had experiences that I can’t access from my memory. Having grown up in (New England) a place where only the what was considered plausible was possible, with a strong emphasis on “normal” standards, I was inculcated to only briefly consider and then discard outlying ideas or experiences. So – I don’t think I developed the pathways to keep these experiences where I could retrieve them later – they come, stay for a while, and then are lost without being transformed or associated with more permanent feelings or ideas. So I can only cite one of them. One time when I was 8, I was on the sunporch of our house with my stepbrother when I heard my mom (who was dead) calling me from the basement – I only remember it because it was really scary and only realized it was my mom when I heard her recorded voice later – I am sure that this was a memory and not a manifestation, but it was real enough at the time that I commented to my (older and cynical) step brother who egged me on a bit – so it is linked to my memory of him and to the initial fear. Maybe this is why these experiences are less frequently reported by educated urban and suburban professionals – we simply can’t remember them well.

    Replycharlah
  40. I first heard God speaking to me when I was 3 years old – just turned 3. It was at church. A women preached. I had to meet her after and tell her what God told me. I cried as I told her. Tears of joy. My life has been guided by my sense of hearing God for 58 years since then. quite a journey! Born in Texas, Grew up on Capitol Hill, Evangelical Fundamentalist, Recovering Evangelical – now married to an Arab-Muslim I live in Kuwait, work all over the Middle East. All started in the summer of 1956 when a woman missionary filled the pulpit and told an amazing story of God’s Love for all the people of the world.

  41. Hello. I’ve just learned about your exciting, fascinating research, and have been looking around the “Sense of Presence Forum”. But I have to say I’m a little disappointed in the forum. It looks like just a default comments section, like the ones you’ll see on virtually any other website. Isn’t it supposed to be a safe, nonjudgemental environment for people to describe their spiritual experiences? It doesn’t seem to actually be that, though. There seems to be usual friction whenever such a subject is raised. I’m disappointed in this. I think a safe, nonjudgemental environment is really needed. Comments fields we already have plentifully, and to not much useful effect. However, your own research is, as I say, exciting and fascinating. Just my 20 cents worth.

    ReplyMichael
  42. Through the baptism of the Holy Ghost as evidenced by the God given sign of speaking in other tongues I experienced God just as God promised in the writings of Joel and Luke. I submitted to baptism in the name of Jesus for the remission of my sins and experienced an over night deliverance from alcohol, cigarettes, marijuana, anger, vulgar language, and thoughts of suicide. That experience occurred in February of 1979 and it is just as fresh, motivating, and powerful today as it was then.

    Through further research I discovered that the gospel of God has come through today, to most churches, as a powerless impossibility with a weak deity (one that cannot heal and does not intervene in the destinies of men). This is not the gospel or the God that I know.

    ReplyPaul
  43. A Conversation

    The time is early spring in the year 2014. The place is an ordinary home
    office located somewhere in Florida. A lone interviewer sits before an
    active computer to record the dialogue about to begin.

    Interviewer:

    Are You there ?

    God:

    Yes.

    Interviewer:

    I don’t see you.

    God:

    You will not see me or hear me. We will communicate in a more
    fundamental way than uttering sounds and interpreting them. You
    will seem to be hearing words, which is all you know, and will record
    these words as you please.

    Interviewer:

    Have you ever done this before, with a person like me ?

    God:

    No.

    Interviewer:

    Why are You contacting me at this time ? What is special that I should be
    so privileged ?

    God:

    It is you that have requested this interview. As to why I have not chosen
    to respond to prior requests, the answer is beyond your capability to
    comprehend. The nearest cause in your experience that I can offer is
    that it did not interest Me.

    Interviewer:

    You say You have not communicated with anyone before, yet scripture
    Is full of references, in the distant past, when You routinely interacted
    with humanity.

    God:

    What is your question ?

    Interviewer:

    Are any of our religious texts, moral standards, or worship practices
    reflections of your inspiration, desires or will ?

    God:

    The things you refer to are all works of man. The answer is no.

    Interviewer:

    You have been described as all seeing, all knowing, all powerful. Are
    these terms accurate ?

    God:

    They are exaggerations. I do know and perceive everything in the universe
    you inhabit. It is, after all, My doing. I observe its development, but do not
    intervene or alter its structure. I do not know how future events will develop.
    If I were able to predict such development, there would be no need to observe
    it.

    As to power, it is relative rather than absolute. From a human perspective, it is
    convenient to consider Me as powerful beyond measure.

    Interviewer:

    Are you the creator of the universe ?

    God:

    I am the creator of your universe. Your question implies a single universe,
    but this is not true.

    Interviewer:

    Well, you have really blown me away with that response. It raises so many
    questions, I hardly know what to ask next. How many universes are there ?

    God:

    It is many. I only know it is not infinite. There is no forever and there is no
    infinity, these are ultimate truths. Now that you have broached the confines
    of your own existence, you will perceive that I am not all knowing. I suggest
    you explore more local concerns since your existence is within a framework
    of so few dimensions that you can not possibly comprehend the nature of
    higher forms of awareness.

    Interviewer:

    OK, This universe you created is big and complicated. How did you do that ?

    God:

    Much of that cannot be put into terms you can use. In a very shallow analogy,
    I conceive a set of initial conditions or laws and then set these concepts in
    motion. You will appreciate your own capability for creating an idea or image
    that never existed before simply by exercising your imagination. It is a similar
    process with a quite different kind of imagination.

    Interviewer:

    Why did you do it ?

    God:

    Curiosity is an attribute shared by all sentient entities in various manifestations.
    Creatures on Earth have it as a natural component of survival. While it is not
    a feature related to My survival, I nevertheless possess a similar motivation.
    I do not know why I do so.

    Interviewer:

    Are you immortal ?

    God:

    From your perspective I am essentially immortal, since I do not age with your
    time. My existence is within a temporal medium quite removed from your
    ability to understand.

    Your universe has been in existence for 13.8 billion years. Star formation and
    production of heavy elements took 1.4 billion years. Planetary systems of
    sufficient diversity consumed another 7.8. Self replicating organisms (life as
    you define it) appeared after another billion. The evolution of life to produce a
    creature with self awareness, or early man, required another 3.6 billion years. You
    will note that this accounts for all of time the universe has existed. Humans as a
    distinct species have been present for a mere 200,000 years, a period so short as
    to be essentially negligible.

    I expect men will become extinct in a few hundred thousand years, but this
    universe will continue on for many billions of years. In this frame of reference
    for time, the existence of humanity will be so brief as to be unnoticeable.

    Interviewer:

    It is very depressing to be dismissed and judged so inconsequential.

    God:

    I have not judged. It is what it is.

    Interviewer:

    Is life on Earth unique in the universe ?

    God:

    So far, in this universe, about 22 million planets have produced organisms having
    The property of self replication, or life as you see it. The vast majority of these
    planets have produced organisms lacking the characteristics or environment that
    allows significant mutation and rapidly expire or approach a static state.

    There are about 73,000 planets, of which the Earth is one, that produce a diverse
    assortment of life forms numbering tens of million species. The presence of each
    species generally persists from a few thousand years to about 15 million years.

    Of these latter planets there are 374 that have produced creatures having deduced
    that they are individually temporary and become conflicted because mortality is
    inconsistent with survival. It is quite common for these to petition their Creator
    for relief, despite the fact that I have made no attempt to make My presence known.

    A very few, 2 so far, have been successful in becoming completely independent of
    their environment and, to their way of thinking, have achieved immortality. One of
    them is planning their evacuation from their star system as it is approaching its end
    of life. The other has long been separated from its planet of origin and is almost
    completely inactive. While its life machinery is functional and intact, there is no
    apparent response to stimuli.

    There is one other species that appears to have this potential and is currently
    developing. Its destiny is yet to be determined. More correctly, its destinies are
    pending.

    Interviewer:

    What do you mean, destinies ?

    God:

    Your perspective allows for one reality. The truth is any state has histories
    and futures that are not countable. Yet they are not infinite. I have given
    answers that correspond with your notions. It is not possible to elaborate
    the actual meaning of reality that is comprehensible to you.

    Interviewer:

    What do these other species look like, are they like us ?

    God:

    There is variety. Some advanced forms are what you would classify as plants.
    Differences are notably sensory and locomotion features. You would recognize
    those with water and carbon dependencies as being alive. Other bases include
    liquid ammonia and silicon producing life you would not recognize as such.

    Other differences would include the rate at which life processes proceed, from
    rates so low they would appear static to you to speeds that would strain your
    ability to observe.

    “Like us” is relative and not answerable.

    Interviewer:

    What about the other universes you spoke of, is there life there ?

    God:

    I am only responsible for a few hundred of those. Some have life, mostly they
    are explorations that can not be described to you. As I have previously stated,
    there are concepts beyond your ability to fathom.

    Interviewer:

    Who created all those other universes, are You not unique ?

    God:

    I have peers. We have separate and joined states. We share knowledge when
    joined and exist independently when separate. Some of My peers believe My
    creations, having only 1 time and 3 space dimensions, are trivial. They do not
    appreciate the richness of discovery available in this medium. I believe they
    become preoccupied with complexity and do not recognize the lack of
    uncertainty implicit in their elaborate structures.

    I suggest you are tending to subjects that can not satisfy you with
    enlightenment.

    Interviewer:

    Right. What happens when we die, do we have a soul that persists ?

    God:

    You no longer exist. There is no soul that is independent of your physical
    body. Your entire history of sensing has provided an awareness of self and
    an intellectual appreciation of its impermanence. Your ancestors, through
    evolution, have given you an instinct for survival that is almost irresistible.
    The intellect naturally assumes a construct that resolves the dilemma. So
    you invent a spiritual self that will not perish. It is an illusion.

    Interviewer:

    It appears there are cases of what we call intelligent life out there. Can we
    possibly detect them or make some kind of contact ?

    God:

    No. The future may produce separate species that have suitable proximity,
    but as we speak, all cultures are separated by prohibitive gulfs of space time.

    Interviewer:

    To summarize then, human life is an exceedingly brief and improbable event
    that has no significant future and is relevant only as a minor component of a
    vast experiment.

    God:

    Is there a question ?

    Interviewer:

    Well, there ought to be some kind of benefit to obtaining reliable information
    such as I have, information not available to any other being on Earth.

    But I don’t believe I can share this data. Any serious publication will be dismissed
    as an amateurish attempt to impress others with my imagination. I am sure some
    will condemn me for blasphemy.

    The best I can do is to claim this is science fiction, which it appears to be anyway.
    It is not very good science fiction, though. What I need is some kind of
    authentication. Can You provide that ?

    God:

    There is a significant supernova in your arm of your galaxy which exploded about
    105 years ago. When its light reaches Earth it will be an event visible to the naked
    eye and will be quite noteworthy. This will occur in mid November 2031 by your
    time accounting.

    There is no way you could know this without contact with some supernatural source.

    Interviewer:

    If I live to be 98 years old I will see it. That would be well worth the wait.
    But as for authentication, I believe it is futile. No matter how many people
    are apprised of this, shall we say, prediction, it will most likely be viewed as
    a spectacular coincidence.

    All I have gained from this talk is some satisfaction of curiosity. I am grateful
    for that.

    Do You have a Creator ?

    God:

    Interviewer:

    Are You there ?

    • BS

    • neat.

      ReplyTanya
  44. Oh my — I had no idea that those smiley faces would turn up like that. I’m so sorry.

    ReplyFrances
  45. I am 65 years old. I was raised Roman Catholic and loved every minute of it; my personality type and The RCC blended together very well. :-) The RCC also provided me with a wonderful fundamental spring board into philosophy and other religions and other Christian denominations. //// I really don’t remember exactly when I stopped believing that Jesus Christ was divine/The Son of God, but by the time I was 19, I had some serious doubts about religion in general, and by my early 30s I was an atheist.

    However, in my early 40s, I became a theist again, primarily due to a course in elementary astronomy and another in physics.

    I spent a good deal of my adult life as a ‘seeker’: I wanted to know The Truth. :-) But in my late 40s/early 50s — I realized that the ultimate question (for me) of whether or not a personal God exists — it just didn’t matter anymore, because, as of right now, it’s pretty much unanswerable. While I respect the spiritual and religious experiences of others — there is no absolute proof that a personal — or even impersonal god — exists.

    Now this is where it may get confusing. :-) Except for 18 months when I was clinically depressed (turned out to be mainly extremely low B12), I’ve always ‘felt’ the ‘presence’ of ‘God’. From my earliest memories. Even when I was an atheist. And the ‘feeling’ has given forth to a great deal of joy and gratitude for all that is. Especially in nature. A deep, deep joy and gratitude for all that is. It’s almost like I can’t help myself. They are just almost always present within me.

    Now in my older age, I am very content to live with just that joy and gratitude. To Whomever/Whatever. That may or may not exist.

    And I somewhat look forward to death. I’m just so curious: Is there life after death? Well, if there is — I have no idea what it might be like. If there is no life after death, I won’t be disappointed because, after all, I’ll be dead.

    I’ve had SUCH a great life. Not without pain and suffering. But rich in experiences and formal/informal education, and certainly better than 80% of the world — and I’m so touched that I have had this life — I could have been a beggar orphan on the streets of India. I have myriad interests. (A jack of all trades — a master of none.) I’m winding down now. Not that I’ve stopped living — not by any means. But I’m preparing to die. For a number of reasons, I don’t think I have another 10 years. It’s just time to start wrapping things up and getting ready, which I’ve been doing, I think, in certain ways, all my adult life.

    I am not a Pollyanna. I’ve had low-grade depression all my adult life (along with the 18 months of horrible depression). But still — there has been this deep, deep joy and gratitude. I don’t know how to explain it. Well, I can’t explain it — I don’t understand myself.

    And that’s my story. A little disjointed, no doubt, since I’ve writing this off the top of my head. But I think you’ll understand it anyway.

    ReplyFrances
  46. I am finally beginning to embrace my longtime communication with non-physical beings. I am autistic, not schizophrenic, and have PTSD. I had a near death experience at age 7. I was pulled out of my body with a visceral snap at the solar plexus, and my eyes were covered. I recall the conversation about me going back. It was purely my choice, as death always is.

    I was raised Catholic but had no faith in it. I felt like I should not have been able to stump my ordained teachers on philosophical questions as a third grader. The first non-physical being I learned to allow was the Virgin Mary. I could always feel her, and she became a true hero for me once I separated her from my feelings about the patriarchy. It was through her that I came to find my own peace and know that I control every second of my experience.

    I still wasn’t open to validating my non-standard perceptions, though, until very recently. I like science.

    For a while, after my father’s death (during which time I experienced the ancestors of all the people dying in the ICU whispering at once, among other things) I was inundated with people’s dead relatives. I did the sort of things Theresa Caputo does, though I am nowhere near as outgoing socially and have almost no social support. The responses of the other people were more than I could cope with, and I shut the door on the communications of the dead. People either shunned me or wanted more from me than I could give. And I had a world of my own trouble, I just couldn’t cope with it.

    I have come to realize that as Catholics we receive “the communion of saints,” or the ability to have non-standard communications with non-physical beings. As I relax more and more into the way my mind works, I have holy beings interacting with me almost constantly. My life has improved dramatically in short order.

    I hear voices all the time now, including Joan of Arc who intervenes with me often. She and other holy beings guide my every step with insights and challenges. They challenge me to respond to the world differently, and give me new perspectives. The more I do it, the better my life is.

    For example, last week my imaginary friends threw “Persephone” at me. I came across the name and something inside me lit up. I had to research it. I found the synchronicity in the legend quite creepy. After I dealt with that, I realized there is an alternate version of the story that I much prefer — the willing Persephone. There was no victimization, only role play. She ate the pomegranate seeds because she wanted to be able to go back and forth. She undertook the painful mission because it allowed her to connect with the non-physical. My life has had the same result, go figure. I refuse to buy into victimization for another minute, and I am free now. I have one foot on each side of the curtain, and it’s a superpower, not a curse. I’ve bought and paid for it.

    I don’t care if people think I’m crazy anymore. I’m getting past judging myself about it. I know the voices in my head aren’t “real,” but then again neither is “reality.” We live in a holographic universe of our own creation, each of us. There is nothing to fear. There is no “out there” out there.

    ReplyArtnunymiss
  47. I had a near birth experience.

    Here is what happened.

    I went into labor with my second child at 5:00 am. I knew I was in labor because I felt nauseous. Nausea is one of the first signs that the baby is coming. That was the only sign and yet I felt compelled to get to the hospital immediately, which I did. However, the nurses told me to go back home and I had to threaten to sue them if they did not let me in (lol : ) ) Which they did, but not happily. So, I got admitted. Less than an hour later I had my near birth experience.

    I was on my back on the labor table in a hospital gown. They had already attached a fetal heart rate monitor to my baby which they inserted through the uterus and screwed into her head (standard procedure 30 years ago) and I was alone. I had not had any contractions yet. They still thought I was just a hysteric and were not very happy about my strong arming my way into their schedule.

    Suddenly, and all at once the following things happened: I felt my body convulse; I saw, above my head, a ring of white clouds that had an opening in the center; I heard music that was beautiful, voices or instrumental I could not tell, it sounded like that soundtrack from 2001 Space Odessy; my daughter leaped out of my womb and landed on the labor table; I screamed.

    Next thing I know, the cloud is gone and so is the music. There’s several people in the room yelling at me. There is a baby between my legs and she is wailing.

    I’m taken to another room where a Dr. Ho is sewing me up cause I had a huge tear. He says, “Why didn’t you wait for me?” I had not seen a Dr. yet and had no idea who he was and could not have waited if I had tried. This birth was not my doing!

    I gave my daughter a name that means, “A Gift To God.” in another language. She had two huge hematomas on her head and they persist even now. She was black and blue and covered with fuzz but aside from all that she was perfectly healthy, was a delightful child and has grown into a remarkable woman with several degrees, a husband and two cats who she has potty trained.

    I have had a few remarkable experiences in my life that were similar in their hallucinatory aspects, I’ve had precog dreams and am strongly intuitive but this near birth experience is the real stand out.

    What happened, what it means, and if it was real or unreal I cannot tell you. What I can tell you is this: the journeys that I have taken in pursuit of understanding have taken me places that have been rewards in and of themselves.

    Additionally, at that time I was in therapy because my husband (who is now my x) had started beating me. The therapist kept trying to convince me to have an abortion and I refused to even consider this an option.

    I am a strong advocate for abortion — for any reason. But in this instance my unborn child was already as “real” to me and, well, I really, really wanted her.

    Replym
  48. I have been looking for someone or an organization to share my voice experience with the Lord. I came across this site and thought I would start here.

    Early 1990’s I had an experience where the Lord spoke to me. It was not until the last few years that I have shared what happened. My family members and close friends I know have their doubts about God so I have had to rely on my beliefs and experience to strengthen my position when discussing my belief in God.

    I have always believed in God and I pray every day in the morning shortly after getting out of bed.

    One day heading to my office early in the morning , about 7:15am, driving the Blue Ridge Parkway, I stopped at a viewing parking area to meditate for a few minutes. The sun was rising over the mountains and the view was gorgeous. I had done this many times before. While meditating , a loud voice in the car said “Michael when the black van goes by and comes back you have to leave.” As mentioned the voice was loud in the car, not in my head and was real.

    It was a few minutes later , a black van drives by. I was amazed and really not sure about the coincidence. Until a few minutes later, I observed the black van returning. The Blue ridge Parkway has a lot of curves. The black van was slowly approaching on the return coming around a curve that was about 1/4 mile mile away. The driver would stop and slowly move forward. I first saw one head light and then the second headlight.

    Once I had full view of the black van I started my car. The black van picked up speed, drove past the pull out to enter on the rear side. That is when I immediately drove off. The windows were covered and the license plate had a plastic cover to make it tough to read the plate numbers.

    My experience of the Lord speaking to me, was not just a factual statement but a warning that was real. The black van did drive by and it returned.

    For many years , I hardly spoke of the experience. Now with family members and friends denying there is a God , I am so thankful that the Lord protected me and that I have deep rooted believe God is real.

    Thank You
    Mike

    Replymike
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  50. The 13th Jyotilinga in Rochester, New York
    Steve Derné

    On my daily run the morning before Thanksgiving, I installed a bell on a tree atop Pinnacle Hill in honor of Lord Shiva. I had returned the afternoon before Thanksgiving about 4PM and showed my wife the bell, insisting that it wouldn’t be long before the devotees arrived. “How will they know it’s here?” she asked. “They just will,” I replied.

    Thanksgiving morning, as I headed toward the hill crest, I came upon a deer atop the hill. It just looked at me. I slowed as I approached the top and was greeted by prayer flags. Sometime between Wednesday late afternoon and Thanksgiving morning, prayer flags had been installed alongside my bell at the approach to the summit of Pinnacle Hill. “Happy Thanksgiving, the devotees have arrived,” I shouted as I returned home, running along those sacred ridges, happy to let my wife know of the devotees’ arrival.

    A few months before, my wife and I had moved to the leafy neighborhood near Rochester’s Highland Park, one of several parks along the Genesee river that Frederick Law Olmstead designed as a necklace. I soon began running along the ridges of the Pinnacle Hills of Rochester – Mount Hope (the location of the largest civilian cemetery in the USA, where one can find graves of Susan B. Anthony, Frederick Douglas, and local firefighters’ horses), Highland Park (home to the great lilac festival), the Colgate-Rochester Theological Seminary, Cobbs Hill, and Rochester’s highest point Pinnacle Hill. (The fifth hill – Oak Hill – was leveled to build the country club that has hosted major championships and Ryder cup competitions.)

    At first, I simply enjoyed the views from Pinnacle Hill in the middle of my run. The view to a flat plain seemed like so many views from temples atop karst hills of Burma. White edifices below reminded me of stupas. I would do some meditation in the midst of my run.

    But, then, I started noticing the fires atop Pinnacle Hill. I would find the ground still hot and smoldering in the morning. I noticed tridents scratched into the ground. There were encampments that reminded me of sadhus’ encampments at Shiva shrines in India. The Easy Rider poster and Lotus Caves paperbacks made me think it might be kids. But a sadhu interviewed by William Dalrymple rides motorcycles as renunciation, referring to the pain it causes on his behind. The Pinnacle Hill sadhus appeared to ride bicycles over jumps that they themselves had constructed on the hill. I suddenly realized the blinking communication towers atop the hill constituted what amounted to a huge trident. Square cut-outs from beer cans littered the ground and reminded me of the pan wrappers one finds around Shiva sites in India

    And strange things started happening as I chanted Om Namaha Shivay while running along those ridges. A squirrel popped down – at least fifteen feet – from a tree to its base and, then, jumped up. unharmed. Huge branches were down even when the previous day had not been windy. “Shiva really is all powerful,” I thought.

    In India, flat villages on the plains of Gujarat or Rajasthan might have hills that locals connect to the great Himalaya . More and more I began to see my run as similarly connected to the four sacred summits in the Himalaya. Highland Park reservoir’s glacial-run-off blue water (which is brought from Hemlock and Canadice Lake – Finger Lakes owned by the city of Rochester for its water supply) reminded me of Gangotri, the source of the Ganga: and it provided the water that flowed to our new house. The ridge behind my house from which I get views of the city is Highland Park’s pinetum which harkened in my memory the pines behind Gangotri itself. The theological seminary reminded me of Yamunotri, the source of the Yamuna, and Summit Drive reminded me of Badrinath, my least favorite of the four dhams, and the dham I sometimes skip on my run. But I was most intrigued by Pinnacle Hill, which reminded me so much of the Himalaya’s Kedarnath – abode of Shiva, whose symbol is the trident. It was for that reason that I installed the bell and Shiva medallion atop the hill.

    The devotees arrived; but the bell didn’t last long. Whoever took it, better watch out for Lord Shiva! On black Friday, a shopping cart appeared in a tree atop the hill – perhaps a protest against consumerism? But while the bell disappeared, the Shiva medallion did not. Winter has arrived in Rochester, so I’m running in Cloudveil pants over Sugoi shorts and a polartec top over a thermal shirt. Luckily, this gives me a pocket to carry the Christmas ornaments, which I’m slowly adding to the prayer flags at Pinnacle hill. Some days, I carry a bell with me on my run, hearing the ringing as I run.. People ask me if it’s a Christmas bell, but I just shake my head and say it is a long story. People whom I’ve interviewed in India talk of how the ringing of the bell on entering a temple helped them enter a zero zone and the jingling of the bell as I ran along had a similar effect. On reaching the approach to Pinnacle Hill’s summit, I put the bell above my head, ring it, and chant OM NAMAHA SHIVAY before entering that hallowed ground, where I chant and meditate (and stretch my calves!) twenty minutes into my run,

    Of course, everywhere people make the sacred out of the ordinary. I have sat on the banks of the Ganga in Rishikesh and watched someone build a shiva lingam in the sand. Others will subsequently worship that sand lingam with color and flowers. Still others will pour Ma Ganga water on Shiva, destroying the lingam and rebuilding it. When the Berkeley city council put up traffic barriers to improve traffic flow, local Hindus worshiped those poles as Shiva lingams, too. But Pinnacle Hill is different

    In India, there are places where Lord Shiva appeared as a fathomless column of light. These places are swayambhu, “self born” or spontaneously manifest, rather than established by human hands. The trident above Pinnacle hill just appeared. Fires are often alight. I find fresh ash and warm ground in the morning even after 30-degree nights, while hail is coming down. Tridents are somehow scratched in the burnt ground. A bell and shiva medallion goes up; devotees cannot be far behind.

    Some pilgrims go to the four dhams in the Himalaya, others to the four dhams of the compass – Puri in the East, Dwarka in the West, Rameswaram in the South and Badrinath in the Himalayas. Others circumambulate Banaras or wander in the Braj of Lord Krishna’s childhood. Others do pilgrimage to the holy places in their villages. Some pilgrims devote years to visiting the 12 jyotirlingas in South Asia. I met some of these pilgrims on pilgrimage bus tours in the Himalaya (spending a few too many nights in dormitories full of snoring peasants!)

    And now I do my own char dham yatra every morning, going to Gangotri (Highland Park Reservoir), Yamunotri (Rochester Colgate Theological Seminary), Badrinath (Summit Drive), and Kedarnath (Pinnacle Hill), the four dhams of Rocky town. Those fires keep alighting atop Pinnacle Hill. The trident atop it keeps blinking its lights. Can it be long before the devotees recognize it as the 13th jyotirlinga, the first in North America, and add it to their circuit?

    Pinnacle hill is 749 feet above sea level. Kedarnath is 11,759 feet high. But Lord Shiva is bhole (innocent.) If you call him, he’ll come.

    Steve Derné is a professor of sociology at SUNY-Geneseo. Pashupatinath was the first Jyotirlinga he encountered thirty years ago in Nepal. In 2007, he watched the lingam being made on the banks of the Ganga in Rishikesh and then went on a $200 bus tour with other pilgrims to Gangotri, Badrinath, Yamunotri and Kedarnath. At Kedar bubbles rose from a spring as he chanted OM NAMAHA SHIVAY. He discovered the 13th Jyotirlinga at Pinnacle Hill in Rochester NY in 2012. He is currently completing his fourth book, Well Being: Lessons from India.

    ReplySteve
    • Hello Steve,
      I have always experienced an other worldly emotion when I have walked in the places you describe so beautifully.

      The next time you visit the cemetery go to the highest point on the southeast side and witness the graphiti on the tomb. I have monitored this place for years and my impression is that people gather there to celebrate dark arts.

      ReplyCharles
  51. I visited multiple blogs except the audio feature for audio songs present at this website is actually superb.

    ReplyPhyllis
  52. “His Father was a Writer”

    Author and Marine, Eugene B. Sledge boldly stated on page 91in his nationally acclaimed WWII memoir book “With the Old Breed”: “Suddenly, I heard a loud voice say clearly and distinctly, “You will survive the war!””

    I, Mark Mortensen, am the author of “George W. Hamilton USMC: America’s Greatest World War I Hero” (McFarland Publishing, June 2011). There is an interesting side note as to how I came to write the biography of Major Hamilton and connect the dots to his prominent father.

    My research led me to truly believe that USMC Major George W. Hamilton was the greatest American hero of World War I, but before I committed to writing Hamilton’s biography it was apparent that step one would entail identifying his parents. The bits of information through magazine articles by Allan C. Bevilacqua, Ronald J. Brown and David C. Homsher, delved into Major Hamilton’s life, however they did not reveal who his parents were. Major Hamilton’s obituary article from the front page of the Washington Post on June 27, 1922 also did not mention his parents. The known fact was Hamilton graduated from high school in Washington D.C. and for some reason entered the Marine Corps through the state of New York. My theory was that his parents must have been rather prominent. Additionally the localities of Washington D.C. and New York might support my prominent theory.

    With internet access my process began by searching “Hamilton” related databases in conjunction with Washington D.C. and/or New York. A couple of months of very intensive searching had passed with no leads. Then one day at my desk during lunch, a calm but very distinct and clear voice came into my head stating “His father was a writer.” Was he an author of books or a journalist? I was convinced that I needed to search for a rather famous “Hamilton”, as a writer in the age range of Major Hamilton’s father. My search of authors named “Hamilton” did not reveal any clues. I then chose to search the New York Times archives for a “Hamilton” obituary from the 1930’s through the 1950’s. After all New York was one state I was focused upon. Finally I came upon the 1942 obituary of Charles A. Hamilton in the NY Times under the headline “Charles A. Hamilton, Newspaper Man 86”. Charles Hamilton was known by his peers as the dean of the Congressional Press Corps serving for as a Washington D.C. correspondent for then record 60 years from Chester A. Arthur to FDR. The article listed three children who survived him. There was no mention of his son George. Still, knowing the power of the voice I heard, I went home that evening and confidently told my wife I had identified Hamilton’s father. A few days later I went to the Z. Smith Reynolds Library at Wake Forest University and through the Washington Post microfilm I viewed Charles Hamilton’s August 24, 1942 front page obituary that mentioned his son George in the final paragraph. I was elated, yet not surprised.

    I later asked Don Ritchie, the U.S. Senate historian, if he was familiar with Charles Hamilton and he affirmatively noted that he had written briefly about him; however Mr. Ritchie, who served in the Marine Corps, was unaware of the connection to his heroic son Major George W. Hamilton.

    ReplyMark
  53. Really lots of useful information..
    Thank you, Quite a few postings.
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    ReplyChere Magid
  54. In regard to your most recent NYT article on prayer and addiction, I have found that prayer can be, and often is, used defensively. I say this as a counselor and psychotherapist. Some people approach prayer, as well as religion generally, as a way not to feel certain emotions or think certain thoughts. It is not a question of healing of emotions or thoughts but of blocking them and keeping them outside of one’s awareness.

    As with any activity used for this purpose, including alcohol or drugs (legal and illicit), prayer can talk on an addictive quality in that it is needed to maintain a certain ego equilibrium in which such things as anxiety, depressed moods, or hateful or destructive thoughts, which conflict with one’s ego ideal, are kept out of one’s awareness.

    When I use the word “defensively”, I am referring to defenses of the ego (e.g., against anxiety). In my understanding of major religions, defending the ego is not the purpose of the religion, although religions often seem to function at this level. I think an example of this can be seen in how Christianity in the US has become alloyed with the American dream.

    I was glad—and surprised– you mentioned demons and spiritual warfare. As you know, these notions are widely held beyond Christian circles, especially in cultures where traditional spiritual worldviews have been maintained. Many people from these areas look to demons and spiritual warfare (often in the form of black magic) as a theory of illness and as causes of untimely accidents or deaths. Adopting such views, widely held in popular cultures throughout the world, would mark a sea change in how we in the US understand many events on personal and collective levels.

    ReplyKevin
  55. It is really important to understand how the turning of subjuctive experiences into a form of “reality” occurs. Bravo! Another side of the story is the danger inherent in this process of religious interpretation, inclluding the seeming inocuous approach of C.S. Lewis. Above all, science is a method of weeding out all of the individual human misinterpretations which sound plausable and compelling at some point. Religions of all forms, organized or not, have never faced this problem, so they leave their believers with erronious “truths” which may be emotionally satisfying, but are often used to turn people into true believers and even monsters. Science seems to be the only truth-determining constant that we know.

  56. There I was, in the Autumn of 1994, in the Manhattan Beach house, very nice, of Lance, a very comely, eloquent, and recently divorced young man, a corporate executive, staring at the nape of his neck and his blond hairline, about to make love to him. We’d made love once before, after our second date, in my Beverly Hills flat. Lance, by his own admission, was adopted and educated in Switzerland, by a very wealthy Mormon couple. I met him whilst out sipping cocktails, smoking Dunhill’s, after work, in one of my favorite West Hollywood watering holes, when I lived in Beverly Hills and worked in Century City.

    Following in the footsteps of my high-school hero, James Joyce, and the hero of A Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man, Stephen Daedalus, I decided, after much thought and prayer, believe it or not, that The Bible and God were nothing more than a myth. This belief, I must say, was reinforced by my freshman year formation at Stanford under the tutelage of my advisor, an Andover-Harvard educated Marxist/materialist historian. Mine was a lost faith, totally consistent with the ideas about world myth promoted by the lapsed Roman Catholic Joseph Campbell, professor of myth at, I believe, Bryn Mawr. But, really, my lost faith happened long before I reached Stanford or even heard of the books on myth by Joseph Campbell. (“Joseph”…foster-father of Christ, his protector and Mary’s…how ironic, in Professor Campbell’s case.)

    Staring at the nape of Lance’s neck, looking forward to another night of love-making, feeling very loose and relaxed, having consumed a martini, earlier that evening, suddenly, I hear a voice.

    It speaks from inside me, I note, as Lance hears nothing.

    It says, in about three sentences, something to this effect: “Down that way lies death.” I tried but couldn’t commit to memory verbatim what the voice said. But, I was able to summarize the voice’s message, in the manner above, and remember that. Again, the voice used I’d say two to three sentences, which my mind crunched down to one.

    While it said what it said, I felt something, like a vibration, but not quite a shock, move through me. The vibration seemed to push out all the intoxication or inebriation, from the two cocktails, and I was, in the space of five seconds, rendered from moderately buzzed to totally sober. That was amazing enough, but what was suddenly happening to me did not stop there.

    Once sober, I felt in addition to being sober, more rational, logical, and intelligent than ever before! In that moment, I clearly recall thinking, Wow! Let me take the SAT, GRE, LSAT, again, right now! For I’d score within the 99th percentile. (For the record, my GRE score in logic or analytical thinking was above the 90th percentile and my English or verbal score above the 95th.) I felt so pure, new, and mentally powerful! I was made “pure” and “sober” and hyper-rational to choose. I didn’t understand why, but I definitely saw this connection, in an instant.

    My mind then began to analyze the message or warning of the voice. I thought, “Death,” uh-oh, what could this mean?

    I thought, first, a physical death. Lance must have some deadly STD, like HIV. Or, may be we will do drugs, later on, and I will overdose. (For the record, I was not then or have I ever been, a drug-user.)

    I paused, considering these two possibilities.

    Then, suddenly, against my own lack of faith, my own agnosticism, and my own personal conclusion that the Bible and God were merely primitive myths, I thought, Or, the “death” mentioned by the voice was the death of the soul. An eternal death. Hell. The willful, knowing, and reflected upon rejection by a human spirit of the holy life of the following/people (“church”) of God (see Lev. 20, 13 and 1 Cor. 6, 9) and all relationship to God the Father (“[B]e holy; for I, the LORD, your God, am holy,” Lev. 20, 7) through God the Son in union with God the Spirit, not only on earth but for all eternity. This seemed to strike home; it seemed a real possibility! And, both these definitions of “death,” physical and spiritual, which shot through my mind within the first 5-10 seconds or so, following the out-of-the blue, shocking, internal utterance, seemed to be in play as real possibilities, insofar as the meaning of the absolutely beautiful warning was concerned.

    Lastly, after my instantaneous conclusion that the “death” warned of was more than simply a “death” of the body, but one also of the soul, my mind immediately and automatically began to analyze the voice giving the warning. It was nothing like any earthly voice I’d ever heard. It was so intricate, elaborate, and utterly beautiful. It was very near to what I might describe as Shakespeare, at his very best. A door-sculpture at Chartres. A piece of stained glass at Notre Dame de Paris. In other words, this was not “me.” This was not my or our modern American English. This was not my conscience, my internal do-this or don’t-do-that voice, speaking, one heard with the ears of the heart, not the head.

    This voice was something else, something older, something so old, in fact, that I was overcome by this vision of an ancient, craggy, desert landscape, in my effort to place this voice, while it spoke. And, it was from this ancient place that the truly unique and beautiful voice spoke. In the moment, I sensed that this voice was coming to me, speaking to me, from someplace on on earth, but from a place and time before man began. That’s what I concluded, on the spot, which, along with everything else about these five seconds, utterly shocked, baffled, and troubled me. I was perfectly sane. I didn’t believe in God. I found Lance comely, accomplished, and charming, if not lovable. What the hell was going on? I questioned. The voice and its message stopped me dead in my tracks.

    I’d never experienced anything like this before or, thankfully, since (for how unnerving it is for something like this to happen).

    Given this, I felt that I had to set aside the gifts that Lance had given to me that evening; that I had to set aside our brand new relationship, which was totally new and different for me…so seductive, so mesmerizing, so seemingly good; and that I had to get out of there, his Manhattan Beach house, and think about what just happened, about what just transpired…and about what it meant for me and my life…the voice…the message/warning…the vision of a pre-man earth…and all!

    It was so powerful. What occurred. It changed my life. Totally! In an instant! Although I was not given any charge from God, like St. Paul during this conversion experience, I can definitely empathize with him as a man who was hit and changed by what only can be called a supernatural experience, something beyond the laws of nature, reason, or everyday reality. I may not have been knocked off a draft animal and blinded, but trust me when I say that it sure felt like it!

    So, within about fives minutes of the internal warning, I made up some lame excuse, left, hopped in my car, and hit the 405 Freeway headed north, thinking, “Oh my God! There is a God! NO WAY!!!”

    I would see Lance again twice to sort of work out the break up. It was hard. It was clear than we’d fallen in love. In fact, his confessions of love, before that fateful night, that ended it all, were honestly spoken so beautifully that they were as deep and remarkable, in every way, as any poetry I’d ever read! His words to me, the words that seduced me, were astounding in their beauty that on one occasion I wondered, Could they be real? They’re so perfect? So…immortal?

    Nevertheless, that night I was given a choice: to choose love of Lance (and death) or love of God (and life). In an instant, I guess the Catholic boy in me chose God. I’ve never regretted it. It has never felt wrong.

    In 1996, Lance died, in a Christian hospice specializing in patients with AIDS, near or with his parents, who lived in Washington. At the tender age of 30, Lance passed out of this life two days before I would turn 32. Years after his death, I would research and find this out, these details concerning his death, while trying to make sense of this whole experience.

    So, the voice spoke truth. It did not lie. And, it saved me life, not only my life here on earth, but my eternal life. For that, I will be forever grateful.

    It took me five years to speak about this experience to another human being, a fellow law firm lawyer (very bright and hardworking– first in her law school class), over cocktails. Ironically, she responded by propositioning me (something I felt she desired, long before she made it plain). Anyway, I thought sharing my encounter with Lance, God, and so on with her would have had the very opposite effect on her; but, alas, it didn’t; instead, she found it “sexy” (lol)! I politely, graciously, and diplomatically declined. It had been a long, hard, stressful week for both of us; we were each desirous some “relief”; but, it would not have been right, for many reasons — professional, religious, and otherwise. Besides, after hearing from God, personally, I’ve never again be able to bring myself violate His clear and explicit Old- and New-Testament commands concerning sex (see Leviticus, Chapter 18 and 1 Corinthians, Chapter 6).

    I also shared my conversion experience with my family, friends, and a select group of priests and nuns. The Catholics (and Reform Christians) all think my conversion experience to be very much like St. Paul’s and to be a genuine mystical experience and that I may have a calling, a gift, and/or a mission of some sort, which I must discern. However, the others — namely, my gay and atheist friends — think I lost my mind, at least momentarily, that night at Lance’s, and they’ve all drifted away.

    For the record, I’ve sought out two professional psychological opinions, regarding this incident. And, I was told, by two separate psyche professionals, the exact same thing, that the “voice” in 1994 was NOT “the kind of voice that people suffering from psychosis hear.” Then, both professionals said, with over 40 years experience between them, in very serious, muted, disinterested voices, “The voice you heard was, in my opinion, God.” Of course, I had to undergo a battery of questions and a number of sessions, before this conclusion was reached. The last psyche professional, who switched careers from Christian ministry to psychology and who held a M.Div. from the Fuller Theological Seminary, became convinced in the course of our analysis of the 1994 incident that I had a calling or vocation. I disagreed and continue to disagree with this, even if this opinion is shared by others who know me very well. The beautiful, truthful, graceful voice that spoke to me, only once, that evening in ’94, did not call me to the priesthood or vowed religious life. Nor did it give me a charge, duty, or responsibility (e.g., to be an apostle to those practicing “ancient Greek love”), as it did St. Paul, some 2,000 years ago (i.e., to be the “apostle to the Gentiles”). In that regard, our conversion experiences differ; Paul’s conversion experience came with a call; mine did not. Instead, the divine voice in my case merely warned me. It saved me from a potentially bad or deadly outcome out of love, divine love. That’s all.

    Frankly, I wish these psyche professionals said, my dear friend, modern medicine (i.e., the DSM IV) tells us that you suffer from such and such a disorder; here, take this pill! Then, I could forget all about God, religion, the law of love, sin, works, judgment, Purgatory, Heaven, and Hell, and all the rest (“discernment”)! And, go back to living my life, my humble, simple, anonymous, sensual life, according to my own lights.

    But, alas, I can’t. God (and my totally logical/rational conscience) won’t let me.

    Needless to say, after much thought and exploration, I ended up back in the Church and her sacraments (frequent confession and Mass) and prayer-life (i.e., Liturgy of the Hours).

    Unlike other men with a gay or bisexual past, I don’t feel as though I’m “living a lie.” On the contrary, I feel, very much, to be “living the truth.” A truth that I don’t impose on anybody else. A truth that is entirely my own. Appropriate for me and all that I am and ever will be.

    Of course, this does not mean that I don’t believe that the truth God spoke and sent vibrating through every cell of body that night isn’t an objective reality or impartial truth that others would be wise to heed. For truth is truth, and I do believe that what was given me, that night, was objective, eternal, universal truth. I just don’t go around beating up people, straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, or otherwise with it. That is NOT me. Moreover, as the New Testament teaches, it is the Spirit who truly converts the heart, not man.

    Perhaps that is a cop out. However, I don’t think so. Unlike Jonah, Paul et al., God has not directed me to go to any city and/or slice of the human family and preach, “Down that way lies death.” Instead, His message to me was personal, meant for me and me only. Still, when gay men sincerely ask why I left the gay lifestyle and returned to the Church, I tell them, sharing my conversion story with them in the process, but letting them process it, according to their own faith (or lack thereof), lights (reason), and Light (Spirit) in their hearts. Pastorally, this is my “kiss of love” (1 Peter 5:14) to them, which I choose in Christ to extend in lieu of the rod.

    I initially thought that I wouldn’t, or shouldn’t, share my Pauline conversion experience. But, people need to hear it. People need to be reminded that there is something more to life than what our current physics, etc., can reduce to a mathematical formula; that the narrative given humankind through The Bible is no accident; we are beings of consciousness, consciousness stored in memories, memories stored in narratives; God knows this, for He created us this way. People need to know that we are connected to a much larger drama, and that we all play our respective roles or parts, whether we like it or not, or even if we realize it or not.

    Don’t be afraid. Take courage (Bon courage). And, play your part.

    Make a difference. Life is short. Tomorrow is not guaranteed.

  57. ‘I pray to Allah every day and you know what I’ll be dropping by to see you.’ Full stop: I bet that got your attention and not in a good way. I wonder why? Paul, Mohammed were products of answered prayers. My experience has been that when God talks back run. Reference your article in today’s New York 5/5/13.

  58. I never heard voices (or a voice), but had other sensory experiences starting in college, that led me to seek an explanation for the experiences throughout my life. I’m surprised I am only now hearing of your research!
    My first experience was in 1972 when I was a sophomore in college. I woke up in the middle of the night in my dorm room–completely awake, I was not dreaming–to see a bird perched on the top of the slightly open closet door. As I looked at the bird and wondered how it got into the room, it spread its wings and flew right over me and disappeared into the wall beside my bed. I did not take my eyes off the white bird which seemed to glow as it flew above me then disappeared. My initial reaction was WTF!? I was completely freaked out and could make no sense of what I had just experienced. I was not able (I think I was a bit afraid) to go back to sleep and stayed awake until it got light. I did not tell ANYONE about this experience for many years, but I would often think about it and try to figure out what it could mean. At the time, I was dating a guy who was a pilot and was on a short tour in Vietnam. I wondered if this was some kind of psychic message that something had happened to him. He came back fine, so that wasn’t it. I also wondered if it could be some message from the beyond (from my mom who died when I was younger), but couldn’t figure out what it could possibly mean. As an avid reader, I also read a lot of psychology books to see if I might find some explanation for my experience in their theories. From this, the idea that my “hallucination” was simply a projection of my own mind in some kind of symbolic form made some sense to me. Jung’s archetypes even provided possible meaning or interpretation of the white bird that made some sense to me.
    That was the only experience like it that I had until a dozen years later, when I had another kind of sensory experience on more than one occasion. This happened when I was driving alone in the car on the highway and started to doze off. As I dozed off, I would feel something kick the back of my car seat which would jolt me awake. The first time it happened, I was quite spooked; but by the time it happened a second and third time, I figured, okay–either there is a benevolent force in the universe that is looking out for me and it is not time for me to go, or my own subconscious is making sure I don’t kill myself just yet.
    Those last experiences were in the ’80s, and I have not had any other similar experiences in the 20+ years since.
    Although I was raised Catholic, I had already left the church before my first experience in college and I have had nothing to do with organized religion since then. For a time, I considered myself an atheist–which is why I sought some kind of logical, if not scientific explanation for my initial experience. But I eventually decided that I do believe in “the force”–not a God in our image as sold by religion, but the One Mind of which we are all a part. Until science can explain exactly how the mind works, I will put my faith in a higher power.

  59. I read your article in the NYT today and it moved me to relate several experiences. About 35 years ago, when I was 27, I was asleep and I woke up at 2 AM for no reason. I had not used alcohol and I have never used drugs. Sitting in a chair in the other side of the room was the figure of a young man. He didn’t identify himself as God or Jesus. He simply said to me, “Do not be afraid, I love you”. The figure then vanished but I knew at that moment I was in the presence of God.

    Second incident. My mother died when I was 41, on Mother’s Day to boot. I was staying at her house the following July 4th and because many of my siblings were also there, I had to sleep in her bed, although I didn’t want to. This bedroom was furnished with a mahogany bedromm set that I had refinished for her complete with new brass drawer pulls so it had a particular meaning for me. My mother also has a cocker spaniel who was prone to skin infections from flea bites and the dog smelt horribly , despite our efforts to fix his health. The dog was long gone before this evening. Again, around 2-3 AM I was awakened, this time by the clanging of the brass draw pulls and the overwhelming smell of the dog. This lasted for several minutes and then both the noise and the smell stopped. The next morning, I related this story to my siblings who all laughed at me. I don’t believe that I experienced a hallucination or that I was dreaming. I believe this was a real sensory experience, perhaps it was something else. However, previous to that I had scoffed at anything that suggested of a spiritual realm. After that night, I never scoffed again.

    One last thing, the last time I saw my father before he died of a sudden heart attack he looked at me oddly as I left his house. I realized after his death, that he was saying good bye from the look in his eyes.

    ReplyVincent
  60. Tanya – May I suggest an Experiment:
    Ask God to show you if He is real.
    Keep an open mind and see what happens.

  61. Re: Is That God Talking? Many years back when I was trying to sell my house, I was sitting alone worrying about what price the house would sell at and when it would sell. At that time, a voice clearly whispered in my ear, a dollar amount. About a week later the house did sell at that exact same price (the real estate agent brought the offer – I did not suggest the price or tell him about the voice and it was quite different from the listing price). I don’t think it was God speaking to me – it was some discarnate being trying to be helpful. There are many discarnate beings all around us – most of the time we can not hear them even if they try to speak to us. Sometimes, they do manage to get through to our brains. These reports above of people hearing voices are all voices of discarnate, astral beings – they have absolutely nothing to do with God. There is as much chance of God talking to a living human being as there is the chance of a human being talking to a specific cell in his body and the cell actually hearing it.

    • maybe we can talk to our cells and maybe they do hear us, in one way or another. we live in a world filled with amazing, wonderful and magical processes which we do not yet understand. we do not yet fully understand ourselves, either. maybe that is ok. maybe it is ok to be filled with wonder, with awe, with anticipation of understanding. Then again, I am an extrovert and we feel most alive when the way forward is a an opening to the unknown! : )

      Bravo, Tanya, for your work in the field of flowers that has no name yet is known by all – the seekers, the finders, the skeptics and critics all walk through the field and with their fingers, their minds, their will and their intelligence ensure robust propagation.

      Replym
  62. I respond to your article in NYT 4-13-13, where you say that your approach to theodicy is not really available to mainstream Protestants and Catholics. As a spiritual guide my whole life, especially in retreat houses, what you describe is the main focus of Catholic spiritual guidance: that direct and personal experience of God especially in the difficult times of life. It may to some extent be filtered through church and sacraments, but not necessarily. I think further research by you in retreat centers would affirm this position. This focus upon immediate experience of God is also very characteristic of many men and women religious, a tradition that is centuries old.

    ReplyKenneth F. Smits, Capuchin
  63. You write: “if there is a God”, but your book is called: “When God Talks Back”, so I wonder at the contradiction here, if there is one. I wish someone who is open-minded, such as yourself, would tell me & others if there is a God (at least, as you perceive God). The Fear of Death is very Strong. It’s very painful for me to be neutral about God. Yet, at the same time, I have a very open mind and am not inclined to close it w/definitive views (either of the Atheistic or True Believer dichotomy). I like it when people really Know there is a God – yet, don’t expect me or others to know, but will also not shy away from saying: “Yes, as I perceive it, there IS a God”. After all, many if not most Atheists are fine w/saying: “There is NO God”. I have been trying to listen to God, to see if He/She/It/Whathaveyou talks back to Me. So far, nothing. Yet, just the concept of allowing for the idea that there Is a God and God Could talk to me is very heartening. But I feel so Lonely for God, too. What if the Voice of God makes me crazy? There is always that fear. One never wants intrusive voices to intrude. Of course, if it comes from God, the voice would Not be Intrusive. Yet, God could be a Little MORE Obvious than He or She or The Undefinable is wont to be. A little MORE direction would be appreciated. I like a Mystery as much as the next person, maybe more, (probably More) but that doesn’t mean I want to meditate for 20 more years so I can say: “Yes! I Finally have a sense of the Ineffable!”. I want something NOW. I’m tired of waiting. I’m tired of Doubt. I need a bit of fireworks, just a bit, but Something. I need something to Bolster my Faith. Others can have their own take on what They need or do not need, want or do not want. I’m just stating it out for Myself & I feel rather irritated. God is an Awfully Big Concept to take on Faith…

    ReplyZell
  64. I really want to know what you think of this article, by Dr. Oliver Sacks. I just read it at The Atlantic. He basically says that Near Death Experiences & other such visions are really just hallucinations produced by our brains. As such, they are Not SuperNatural at all. He mentions you & your book in the article as well. He says that Christians, by going over and over again in their heads, a meeting w/God, sort of psych themselves up for such a visit by hyper imagining it, until it becomes a “reality” to the person. In other words, Dr. Sacks is calling all religious experiences bunk, though he’s not so impolite to use that expression. What do you think? Here is the article link: http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2012/12/seeing-god-in-the-third-millennium/266134/

    ReplyZell
    • Hi, I am not sure that he is. I do think that you can just focus, as a scientist, on how the body experiences the supernatural, and leave the real reality of the supernatural to the side. I don’t think I’ve got the authority to answer whether God really shows up–but I can see something about the conditions in the body that lead one to acknowledge that something odd is happening.

      ReplyTanya
      • Hi,

        Thank you for your reply! The “real reality” that you mention is what means the most to me, but I don’t see how, if it cannot be scientifically validated, it can really be seen as “real” or a “reality” at all! (So yes, that’s why they call it “faith”, right)? The problem is, that faith can just be something that is produced inside our brains. As such, it intrigues me, but brings me no comfort at all. However, there is a doctor in the article by Sacks (there are at least 2 or 3 doctors he mentions, who have experienced NDEs) who has a take similar to what I think yours is: Yes, it is God speaking to me through this NDE and yes it’s by using my physical senses (or the physicality of the brain?) to do this. So, this doctor sees no contradiction in that. What worries me is that atheists (and I may be one, or at least an agnostic) can take what Dr. Sacks says – that NDEs & other Spiritual Hallucination are Not Super-Natural (which he Does say, at the very end of the article) and therefore conclude that this is Proof Positive that there is no God, because it’s all produced by the Brain. In fact, I think otherworldly states can even be produced by Scientists! (By manipulating the brain). In the end, I feel as lost an alone as I ever did & not sure What to put my “faith” in. It’s like: I have a deep need to believe (in a sense or Presence, as I see fit & to the extent that I am able to), while at the same time, it all seems to very empty, because it’s really just a pretty (and cozy & sweet – and sometimes harrowing, albeit) fireworks show that our amazing brains are putting on before: Lights Out. (Btw, I Love this forum & hope to participate more on it. What a Wonderful Name for it: “The Sense o Presence” Forum! I really Have to get your book, too)!!!

        ReplyZell
        • Thanks. I actually find it comforting that you can come to very different conclusions from the same material: if faith is the evidence of things unseen, that’s got to be true. If there is a God, the idea that he could be dissected in a petri dish would make him, well, unGod like.

          ReplyTanya
        • Liebe Kurs-MusikKfcsse,ich freue mich sehr euch so frf6hlich zu hf6ren und zu sehen.I am a child of God. Und ich will frf6hlich sein, dass das so ist.Danke ffcrs Erinnern. Ihr seid gesegnet in all eurem Tun.Brigitte

          ReplyBalkrishna
  65. Thank you for sharing and opening up this area of focus to folks. I have felt for some time that my culture’s values are turned upside down and that I & other folks around me are mostly other-directed and have lost touch w/ our inner cores. I probably didn’t hear God’s voice or sense His influence because I was so busy looking around to see how other people viewed me & if I was current w/ trends.
    It is refreshing to back away from consumer-driven perceptions of ‘needs’ and ‘wants’ and begin to breathe again in a direction that will (hopefully) lead to a more spiritual focus for me–and others whom I may influence.

    ReplyElena
  66. I know I made my bed so lie in it, so no reason stating the obvious. I had a mistress for 2 years and she called and told my wife when I finally told her I would never leave my wife for her. My wife and I stayed together and trying to work it out. Now the mistress is threatening to give some info that she held back like my mistress and I having sex in our marital bed and our sexual activities which I feel is embarrasing. I think the wife may try to forgive, only because she kind of has low self esteem, but not entirely sure what she will do. My question is what do I do with my X mistress go back to her to keep her quiet?

    I have been with her 2 years she knows where I live and work and contacting my wife twice to disclose information is not a crime.

    She is blackmailing for us to get back together not for money. The additional info she has is damning and embarrassing. It includes a video I made of myself.

    Wow. A lot of this makes me feel sorry for the X mistress. She is hurting too. I realize I did string her along with pretenses of me leaving my wife. I really thought I would, but changed my mind.

    ReplyWill.Arnett
  67. My second return to belief (and the Catholic church) was totally unplanned. After my second prolonged period of agnosticism/secular humanism, I tried again to do some non-religious Buddhist type meditation. No go. Couldn’t get by those distractions.
    I then chanced upon an article about prayer beads used by various traditions. I did a little research, and they all seemed too esoteric and requiring considerable study. I then thought of the two old rosaries my wife, a Lutheran, had found in the basement and had hung up on our dresser mirror. My first reaction to seeing them there was embarrassment: someone might see them. I hurriedly put them in a drawer. But what the heck, I thought; I’ll try these familiar beads. Rather than try to sit and breathe a certain way (which I found distracting), I knelt down and took one rosary in hand. It was almost physically impossible to do this. It was too embarrassing, too humiliating. I didn’t want anyone, including my wife, to see me. But I fingered the beads and said the words, and they did help reduce distractions, but it was painful reducing myself to this. Yet I did it daily, paying no attention to the words which were like the sounds of a long mantra.
    I should have known better, for eventually I felt less embarrassed, less humiliated. I felt humble, which I think has to be a big part of meditation. After about 2 months, my problems with the church and the vatican gradually faded, and I returned to the church. In Mary’s month, May 2001, I went to confession to Father Paul, after a 10-12 year absence.
    Prior to this I had agreed to play in a small brass choir for a multiple church service (including my former parish) welcoming in the new millenia. I helped provide the music for something I didn’t believe in. But looking back I can see this was the first small step back into sort-of inchoate believe. I don’t think I had a chance maintaining my unbelief after that.
    You can’t sincerely or even insincerely pray the rosary for a month or more without some change of perspective.

    ReplyJim
  68. 1. circa 1965; no voice heard but still profoundly dramatic: I was asked to serve on the parish council at Immaculate Conception Church, Towson, Maryland. I mused over this but was reluctant knowing it would take much of my time. Then suddenly, I thought this would be like a two-year military service I had missed from deferment for education and defense industry employment. This viewpoint sufficed for me and I did serve on the parish council
    2. circa 1988: after writing a software program to aid preparing my annual IRS return I realized it would be useful to others and should become a product. Again I knew this would take time I was reluctant to invest. Standing in my computer room one day I distinctly heard as from someone right there: “Would you not do this for me after I have given you all this equipment?” I wrote a user manual, advertised my product, and sold a few dozen copies
    3. circa 2000: after Sunday Mass came the usual annual announcement of forthcoming Lenten services, including Stations of the Cross. I reacted with my silent litany of Reasons Why I’m Too Busy. Suddenly in my mind were the words: “Would you not walk with Me on my way to Jerusalem?” This was not my thought; I would not have phrased the question this way. And why Jerusalem, not Golgotha? But the first few Stations are for events within the city walls. Was this the voice of Jesus? Begging the question, I felt He wants us to relive the road to Calvary with Him at Easter time.

    We can reject such experiences as mere imagination or idle thoughts, but what do we mean by a personal God? Is it not one who speaks to us? We must be open-minded. Then, as in 1 Samuel 3 — “Did you call me?” — it will be easier to recognize and accept: “If today you hear His voice, harden not your hearts;” Hebrews 3. Is it vain to reveal such very personal experiences? I think not, because God speaks to us even when we are sinners.

    My Jewish brother-in-law introduced me to his rabbi last Wednesday and I related my three anecdotes. The rabbi repeated your reference to the old joke on prayer versus schizophrenia but was still open-minded about voices from God.

    ReplyThomas
  69. This is going to be a long post, but I think you’ll find it’s an amazing story. I don’t exactly fit the mold of what I’ve read in what you’ve written. I’m not one who was big into praying, nor did I hold particularly strong religious beliefs. But I did find myself in a situation where, in order to help a friend, I was doing some pretty intensive Bible reading… which resulted in some very unexpected results. And yes, that included hearing a “voice”. But also SO much more!

    First, some background. When I was in grad school in Indiana, I had a girlfriend named Sharon. We met at a biological lab where we both worked. When we met, she was pretty wild. Well, I guess we both were. In fact, we slept together hours after meeting. But she had one of the most purely loving souls I’ve ever encountered. She was raised in Richmond, Indiana, by very faithful parents in an evangelical church. Needless to say, she had “strayed” quite a bit. She had married young, divorced, and had two young children that lived with their father in California. In her heart, she had always felt a “tug” pulling her back to her evangelical roots. In the meantime, she went to college, where she smoked pot, got involved in lesbian relationships, and of course, was sleeping with me, too. After she graduated, she first lived in Indianapolis — with a lesbian lover — and then she moved to the LA area to be close to her kids and got a job working at UCLA Medical Center. And then she started exploring her spiritual side again.

    At first, she did in the traditional way, finding a church she liked, but then she met this guy… I’ll call him the “beach preacher” because he hung out on Venice Beach, preaching to anyone who would listen. She was one of them. He was charismatic, and I suppose she was attracted to that because of her evangelical roots. He actually lived there, in his pickup truck with a cap on the back. She was totally taken in by him. When I talked to her on the phone, she started sounding like a completely different person, the complete opposite of how I had known her. She started spouting Bible verse, and adopted an extremely conservative, submissive attitude. She had fallen in love with this guy, and even went so far as to give up her apartment and most of her possessions to live with him in the back of that pickup truck! Making things even worse, it turned out that the beach preacher supported himself by selling drugs on the beach! How he did not see a disconnect between his actions and his preaching is completely beyond me… But he had her help him in this endeavor, which she did feel was against her beliefs, but did so anyway based on the misguided belief that the “man” was the “head” of the woman, and that she had to do what he directed. She told me the sin would be on him, not her, but her sin would be in not obeying him. Can you believe this crap?

    You might imagine my reaction and frustration — I had always loved this woman dearly, and she was clearly completely and utterly lost, having given up EVERYTHING for this guy, brainwashed… and I was thousands of miles away, helpless, only being able to talk to her briefly at work, being she no longer had a phone (it was the 1980s, before cell phones). I wrote her a looooong letter, laying out in very logical terms, what was wrong with this picture, and trying to get her to see how this went against everything she held dear. But she wrote back in Bible speak, citing chapter and verse (as he had apparently taught her), rejecting everything I said, and adding that if my words weren’t coming from God, then they must be coming from Satan, and she would have none of it! But I just could not abandon her. I HAD to find a way. Then things got worse. She developed a serious back problem, and could not even leave the back of the pickup truck. She would lay there all day, unable to do anything for herself — not eat, not get to a bathroom — while he went out and preached and sold drugs. I only learned this after much time passed because she wasn’t making it into work. I tried to show her how he couldn’t love her, leaving her like that, but she wouldn’t hear it, coming back at me in chapter and verse. In response to my pointing out how his actions, like selling drugs and abandoning her, were against his “teachings”, she responded that we are not judged by our actions, but rather by what is in our hearts and in our words. I needed to counter that belief. I wasn’t very religious, and certainly didn’t know the Bible well enough to quote anything. So I decided I had to learn to speak in her “language” if I was going to get anywhere at all.

    Now, I was somewhat familiar with the New Testament, having decided to read it over one summer, largely based on a challenge from my Divinity major roommate in college. But I didn’t really know the Old Testament, and I certainly couldn’t come back with chapter and verse on any of it like she could. So I started to read. And read. And read more. I was unemployed at the time, so I had plenty of time. I’d get up in the morning, open up the Bible, and just read one book after another. I was searching for just that “right” thing to tell her, but I wasn’t finding it. I got together with my old roommate and asked for his help. He suggested some readings, but none were exactly right. He also gave me two books that he said I could give her. One of them was “Women, Men, and the Bible” by Virginia Remy Mollenkott that specifically addressed how men and women should relate to each other in accordance with the Bible. It debunked old conservative beliefs, and was therefore much more on the mark. Still, it didn’t address a point I wanted to make about how his actions revealed him as a man that was a fraud, and that she needed to get away from him. So I kept reading, all day long, day after day, completely exhausting myself until I couldn’t stay awake any more and give in to sleep.

    That’s when it happened.

    One night, exhausted, I got into bed, reached over and turned off the light. My head had just hit the pillow when I “heard” in a loud voice… “ACTION”. Now I put “heard” in quotation marks because it was weird… I didn’t hear it like it was coming through my ears; it was like it skipped that part and just went directly to my brain. It made me sit up with a start. Not sure what to make of it, I turned back on the light, and went to the concordance in the back of my NIV Bible to look up “action”. I went to each and every verse that was referenced. None of them was right. After spending this time getting nowhere, I concluded that I hadn’t heard anything at all — obviously, I reasoned, I had already started to fall asleep and simply dreamed it. So I turned off the light once again, and laid back down. And once again — as soon as my head hit the pillow — there it was again! “ACTION!” This time, I jumped up so quickly, I was immediately standing next to the bed. I was shaking. I couldn’t deny it a second time. So, standing there, in the dark, I said out loud, “Okay, fine… action. I looked it up! I didn’t find anything! Where do you want me to look??” And this time, standing, fully awake, I “heard” the words “First John”.

    You can imagine by now my heart was pounding, and my hands were shaking. But I managed to turn on the light, and I opened the Bible. It opened up right to “1 John”! I looked down, and the very first thing I saw was “Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. This then is how we know we belong to the truth…” Oh. My. God. That was it! That’s what I was looking for! In the same chapter was: “dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. He who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. He who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning.” This also spoke directly to her situation. I checked the concordance again, and for some reason, it had missed referencing this usage of the word “action”, but my friendly “voice” that night certainly hadn’t!

    While I had been doing all these days of reading, as luck — or God — would have it, Sharon ended up briefly returning to Indiana. Her back had gotten even worse, and she was going to spend time at her parents to be evaluated by a specialist they knew. Quite odd, I thought, being that she worked for a major hospital in LA! But that put her within driving distance, and I decided that I had to leave the next morning and bring her this “message” in person, especially while she was out of the immediate influence of the beach preacher. So I did. About 13 hours straight driving. Thankfully, both she and her parents were very receptive to my impromptu visit.

    Soon after arriving, I got her alone in a room and told her my story. I had no idea how she would react. But she listened. She really listened. We talked for a long time. I gave her the books that my old roommate had given me, talking to her about the things that Mollenkott had to say. But then we also got out and just spent time together. That included visiting her mother where she worked at a very small bookstore of a very small college, Earlham College, student population of about 1000. I started to see the “old” Sharon, but a more mature, less wild version. I really liked her, and after spending a couple of days with her, we were connecting again. I was getting through to her. I felt like it was all worth it. There truly was a purpose to everything I had done. It was looking like I had saved her.

    But then I got thrown a curve. A car pulled up. The beach preacher had driven all the way from California! WTF?? As soon as he arrived, she got sucked right back in. She started talking in Bible speak again. We all had dinner together, and I remember challenging him on some point he was trying to make, and she jumped in to defend his position. Afterwards, he told her it was time to get back to California, and he was taking her with him. And she dutifully obeyed. I watched her get in the car and they drove away.

    What was it all for? Why had I driven all the way out there? This is something that replayed in my head over and over and over again while I drove back home, just me alone with my own thoughts for 13 hours. I drove right through the night. As I was nearing the end of Pennsylvania, soon to enter NJ, the sun was coming up. I had had it. I cried out in a loud voice, although it was just me that was going to hear it, “WHY?? What was it all for?? You did such a GREAT job of showing me what to say… now how about letting me know WHY? What good did it do? What do I know? I’m no religious expert! Maybe I really DID just imagine a voice in my head! And what do I know about this book I gave her? Maybe this Virginia Remy Mollenkott is a complete nut! I’m unemployed. I have no money left. And I went and spent the little I had on gas and tolls to drive to Indiana. I spent all that time reading the Bible when I should have been looking for a job! WHAT WAS IT ALL FOR?? She just got in the car and drove off with him like it never even happened!” Suffice to say, I was a tad upset. I had even started to think that maybe there was a chance she and I could reconnect romantically, but obviously, THAT was delusional.

    Immediately after my outcry, I got off at the next exit to find a place for breakfast. I stopped at a Wendy’s hamburger place, where they had breakfast sandwiches. I sat by myself at a table, reading something I had brought with me. If you’ve eaten in a fast food place, you know that people are so transient, they just ignore everyone else. They eat and they get out. That’s it. This is why I was surprised when an older gentleman approached me, and was curious about what I was reading. I showed it to him, and we started to talk. He asked me what I did for a living, and I told him about my environmental consulting. He said, “Really?” and went on to tell me about property he owned nearby, and how he wanted to see if it could be developed. He hired me to look at it for him on the spot, and we went back to his office. As it turned out, the property was part of a religious retreat that he ran. He got a phone call while we sat in his office, and I looked around at what I could see from my seat. I noticed the very same paperback copy of the New Testament that I had read that summer, and I picked it up. Inside was a paper bookmark advertising the very small bookstore at Earlham College! The very same one I had just been at, where Sharon’s mother worked! How weird was THAT? It was more than 10 hours away! So when he got off the phone, I told him I had just been there. He asked me why… and in what was probably not a good move for someone making a first impression on a new client… I told him the whole story.

    The whole time, he listened, not saying a word. Then when I was done, quite calmly, he looked at me, and said, “Virginia Remy Mollenkott is amazing. I know her and that book well. I use her to lecture at my retreat frequently. If you gave her that book, you did the best thing you could possibly have done.” Can you imagine how I felt right at that very moment? All of a sudden, it dawned on me. It was like Peter hearing the cock crow the third time. What had I asked for just minutes before meeting this man? I asked to know that I had done the right thing; that there was a purpose to it all. I had asked to know that giving her the book by Virginia Remy Mollenkott was the right thing. I had expressed my need to find work and earn money. And of ALL the people on the planet, this one man was probably the one and only person that could have satisfied all of that. This time, I didn’t hear any voices in my head. But my prayer, even though I didn’t really think of it as a prayer at the time, was answered in an unmistakable, resounding way. And I felt a calm come over me.

    I did the job for that man, and I got paid. It kept me going for a while. Soon after, I received an announcement from Sharon for her marriage to the beach preacher. For a moment, I wondered again what it all been for, but I now had faith that there was SOME reason, even if I didn’t understand it. Years passed. She had a son with him, who she named Caleb. I don’t even remember how I knew this, because we hadn’t talked since that day in Indiana. She was gone from my life. I met a woman who I didn’t love as much as Sharon, but we dated for 3 years, starting shortly after I got back from that trip to Indiana, with her wanting to get married. I was now 32, and wasn’t meeting anyone else, so I finally gave in.

    I had also found employment in that time, first at one consulting firm, and then moving on to another. For the second, I was hired to open up a new office for the firm in Cold Spring, NY, and was working there alone. About a month before my wedding, the phone there rang. To my utter disbelief, it was Sharon! We hadn’t talked for more than 3 1/2 years. She had somehow found a number for where I grew up (pre-internet days, mind you), and got my father, who gave her the number for the firm where I had worked, and they gave her the number where I was now working by myself. She was apparently quite determined to find me. We started to talk, and she told me she was now divorced. She said she needed to find me to thank me — that my trip to Indiana changed everything for her. It took 3 years, but she said what I told her stuck with her. She couldn’t forget it. She read the book by Mollenkott, and she found truth in it. She started to see how things were wrong. It all gave her strength, the strength she needed to finally get out and leave her beach preacher husband. It was amazing! The whole thing really had been… a miracle. And for some reason, God chose me to work through. Me. At best, nothing more than lukewarm Catholic.

    Then she said one more thing… she asked, “Are you married yet?” I said, “uh… well… not yet…” And she said, “Because I was thinking maybe it was finally time for us.” Oh God. I then went on to tell her how my wedding was just a month away, and I didn’t see how it could be stopped at that late date. STUPID ME! I now feel that her phone call was God working through her, returning the favor. If I had perhaps just a little more faith than I did… maybe a little more vision and wisdom… I would have found the strength to call off that wedding and saved myself from a pretty crappy marriage! I would have been in a very happy marriage with Sharon.

    So while things didn’t exactly work out for me, I’m happy to say that Sharon now (in 2013) lives in Florida, where she is happily married to a normal, and very faithful, man that she met in her church. I can’t say that God ever really intended anything for “us”, but the night that I heard that voice turned out to be life changing for both of us.

    ReplySteve
  70. This morning I read your opinion article “My Take: If you hear God speak audibly, you (usually) aren’t crazy”.
    I am the author of “George W. Hamilton USMC: America’s Greatest World War I Hero” (McFarland Publishing 2011). The book is available through the Stanford University Library (Green » D570.348 5TH .M67 2011). Major Hamilton tragically died at age 29 in 1922. While involved with intensive research into his past I heard a loud and clear voice one day
    Until lately I have held back mentioning this story, however I am propelled to tell this in part because E. B. Sledge boldly sated in his book “With The Old Breed” (pg. 91) ““Suddenly, I heard a loud voice say clearly and distinctly, “You will survive the war!””

    My research led me to truly believe that USMC Major George W. Hamilton was the greatest American hero of World War I. Before I committed to writing Hamilton’s biography it was apparent that step one would entail identifying his parents. The bits of information through magazine articles by Allan C. Bevilacqua, Ronald J. Brown and David C. Homsher, delved into Major Hamilton’s life, however they did not reveal who his parents were. Major Hamilton’s own obituaries from 1922 also did not mention his parents. The known fact was Hamilton graduated from high school in Washington D.C. and for some reason entered the Marine Corps through the state of New York. My theory was that his parents must have been rather prominent as common parents would have hailed their son’s achievements far and wide. Additionally the localities of Washington D.C. and New York might support my prominent theory.

    With access to the internet my computer search process began by searching “Hamilton” related databases in conjunction with Washington D.C. and/or New York. Naturally descendants of Alexander Hamilton surfaced quite often. I came upon one Hamilton, who was a prominent early aviator, but he was from the state of Connecticut and before long I discarded this avenue. A couple of months full of intensive searching had passed with no leads. Then one day at my desk during lunch calm, but very distinct and clear voice came into my head stating “His father was a writer.” Did the voice come from God, an angel or a group of “Old Breed” members in the realm high above? Was he an author of books or a journalist? I was convinced that I needed to search for a rather famous “Hamilton”, who wrote and would have been in the age range of Major Hamilton’s father. My search of authors named “Hamilton” did not reveal any clues. Then, I chose to search the NY Times archives for a “Hamilton” obituary from the 1930’s through the 1950’s. After all New York was one state I was focused upon. Finally I came upon the 1942 obituary of Charles A. Hamilton in the NY Times under the headline “Charles A. Hamilton, Newspaper Man 86”. Charles Hamilton was known by his peers as the dean of the Congressional Press Corps serving for as a Washington D.C. correspondent for then record 60 years from Chester A. Author to FDR. The article listed three children who survived him. There was no mention of his son George. Still, knowing the power of the voice I heard, I went home that evening and confidently told my wife I had identified Hamilton’s father. A few days later I went to the Z. Smith Reynolds Library at Wake Forest University and through the Washington Post microfilm I viewed Charles Hamilton’s front page obituary that mentioned his son George in the final paragraph. I was elated, yet not surprised.

    I asked Don Ritchie, the U.S. Senate historian, if he was familiar with Charles Hamilton and he affirmatively noted that he had written briefly about him. I mentioned that I was finishing the biography of his son George Hamilton and Don stated he had served in the Marine Corps and he did not know of Major Hamilton or the connection.

    Several months ago I mentioned this inner voice story to Col. William V. H. White USMC (Ret), who officially reviewed my book. Unlike some others, he fully believed my story.

    ReplyMark Mortensen
  71. I began having unique auditory experiences about 30 years ago. I use the term auditory loosely, because I really just hear it in my head rather than through my ears. I’d like to think they are divine in nature, although I’ve come to think of God as plural although having a single voice. With a few exceptions, I hear things in a quatrain poem format, much like Nostradamus. I tend to hear things based on world events or when someone loses a family member. They pop into my head fully formed and I just write them down. Once I do, I generally don’t remember them. If I don’t write it down right away, it just sort of plays in my head until I do. I’ve written hundreds over the years. People have been contacting me for years with requests and I almost always have a response to whatever they may be dealing with. I’m currently working on my fourth books worth. Feel free to request one for yourself – it’s free. http://www.sacredpoems.com

    ReplyRobert
  72. I was 29 and on my second post-doc as a theoretical physical chemist, living in a shared house in a funky part of Boston, when I had, I guess my second strong spiritual experience (my first was when I was 6 years old). I was happy with my life and my dream was to get a teaching and research position at a strong liberal arts college. I also did volunteer work in shelters for homeless people and families and also in free medical clinics (as a lab tech). I thought I knew what I was doing.

    Then one night I tossed and turned and I couldn’t sleep. It lasted the whole night. I broke out in a sweat. I was not distressed but I just felt unsettled. Suddenly I felt an emotional rush. There were no words but I suddenly realized I was not doing what I was meant to do. I was meant to be a medical doctor. I realized this with a sudden and complete conviction. I had toyed with that idea but really, all my young adult life I had rejected that notion because I despised (really despised) the pre-medical students I had known, and I hated the thought of medical training. But that night was transformative.

    Once I “got the message,” I relaxed and fell deeply asleep. The next day I began plans to go to medical school. It took me 4 years to get in. I had no background in biology and had to take introductory biology including labs. It was not as bad as I had expected. I took the entrance exams and applied to a whole bunch of medical schools. I was rejected at every one in my first try. Then I landed my dream teaching/research job. Then that year I got into medical school. Do I leave my dream job after just one year, or do I stay? There was no question. I left. Training to be a doctor took 10 years (4 years of medical school and 6 of post-graduate training). I really hated the first two years, which was mostly book learning, cramming in as many facts by brute force memorization as possible. But I loved everything else, the patient care, the human drama. Now I am a pediatric neurologist at an academic center. I take care of children, I teach, I do research. I love my job.

    My research is starting to develop into something, too, including something with commercial possibilities. Some 6 years ago, when this research was nothing much, I had another moment while visiting with my wife’s family in Europe. I realized that if I made any money, I should not keep it, or not all of it. I have obligations to my children, of course, but I promised to myself and my wife that I would give half of it away. I did not really think I would ever make any money from research (most academic researchers never do), but since that time, I have made a (very) small bundle, and I have kept my promise.

    I was raised a Catholic but was never devout, nor borne again. I would say I’ve had about four transformative experiences, all of them strongly emotional, a couple of them occurring in dreams with a strong visual and emotional content, but none of them really with any words. I would “understand” the intent but not “hear” it and not in a logical way.

    As a scientist, I am this way, too. First I do my due diligence. I study the problem intensely and “feel out” the territory. Then I leap; I “guess.” I do this even with mathematical problems. It drives my wife crazy (she is a classically trained theoretical physicist). Then I work backwards to see if I am right. As often as not, I hit on the right answer before my wife does. But I know, in science, I am often wrong and then I have to try again.

    However, in these religious experiences (I do consider them religious), I have not ever been mislead. When I have one of these experiences, I accept what I experience and I do what I must, or at least I try. And I have come back to the Catholic Church, not as a literalist but I guess I do have a kind of faith now. I do not “listen” to my bishop or pope if what they say goes against what I feel to be right, but I have a sympathetic pastor and that makes it all right for me.

    ReplyDavid
  73. My name is Matthew. I was a former pursuer of all worldly vice. For some reason, God chose to save me from my madness and foolishness and turn my heart upside down from my old loves of perversion, lying, adultery, deception, greed to a newfound desire to please him and walk in righteousness. The change of heart was given to me but I was not looking for it. July 20th 2008, I was at the end of my rope. Being audited by the IRS, juggling my deceptions to my then wife and family, being almost pennyless, I was told to go to my living room couch by that “voice”. I was interested in this tug on my soul for I never had heard a voice like this speak to my heart. The only voice I knew to obey was the one that seemed natural and that natural voice only led me to do horrific things. But this voice spoke peace to me. But it also was one that I didn’t have the power to ignore and I am admitting I didn’t want to ignore it. It was conquering me as I picked my journal and pen to take with me. I sat down, was given the ability to see my life come to a head. In my soul, my mess was laid before me and I knew of nothing else but to look to Christ. He presented himself to me in such a compelling way that I saw glory in his life, death and resurrection from death. I thought, I wanted that, whatever “that” was. In a moment, a flash, a blinking of an eye, I was granted a new mind, a new heart and a new longing for something. God had conquered me. I mean really conquered me. I wanted to be clean. In that moment, I was free from the shame, the robe of iniquity that I was clothed in was removed from me and I had a new clean rob to wear. I walked away from that couch free to pursure God with no more hindrances. Free to love in ways I never dreamed my heart could experience. I was free to lay my life down for others instead of using them for my own perverse reasons. Christ saved me and still continually holds me.

    ReplyMatthew
  74. At a very young age, my mother told me that Jesus lives in my heart. With the faith of the child that I was, I accepted that, and He has always loved me and guided me, even when I was ignoring him during my teens and twenties.
    When I was 27, too many things were not going the way I wanted them to. I was layed off of my job, my boyfriend of 5 years broke up with me, my best friend moved to CA, my childhood dog died and I came home one day to find my fridge was broken and all the food was spoiling. That pushed me over the edge. I cried and cried and just kind of asked, no one in particular, why everyone I love leaves. Why things have to always change. Then, over my right shoulder, I heard as clearly in my heart as if it were spoken out loud, “I’m still here. I never change.” I turned to look, and tho I didn’t really see Him with my eyes, Jesus was standing right there, smiling with open arms. :)

    ReplyKaren
    • Yes, you make my point. Spinoza tried to make it all go away. As it happens I AM aionstgc about the spectral martians, in exactly the way I am about gaad. I cannot a priori disprove their existence or non-existence. But, and this is what you don’t seem to grasp, like gaad, their existence or non-existence is of such screamingly small importance to me, of absolutely no smidgeon of relevance to anything I do or think, that to all intent and purpose I am in fact an effective non-believer.However note effective , use of the fact that I can’t disprove their existence is enough for me to claim definitional aionstgcism.Clear?

      ReplyHouda
      • Thanks for the post Nick. I am always trinyg to find entry points for other educators to get involved with social media and the discussion of advocacy is a great way. At least on local terms, I would like to think that all educators are advocates for their students and/or their schools. Becoming active just to advocate for what is going on locally would be a great start. Once people see the positive influence they can have in smaller circles maybe they will have the confidence to take their message to a larger audience?

        ReplyCarolina
        • Pretty good post. I just stumbled upon a wegpbae not to mention wanted towards state who I have truly enjoyed reading a website not to mention articles. Anyway I’ll turn out to be subscribing just not to mention I just desire towards read a website yet again.

          ReplyArmando
  75. There I was, in the Autumn of 1994, in the Manhattan Beach house, very nice, of Lance, a very comely, eloquent, and recently divorced young man, a corporate executive, staring at the nape of his neck and his blond hairline, about to make love to him. We’d made love once before, after our second date, in my Beverly Hills flat. Lance, by his own admission, was adopted and educated in Switzerland, by a very wealthy Mormon couple. I met him whilst out sipping cocktails, smoking Dunhill’s, after work, in one of my favorite West Hollywood watering holes, when I lived in Beverly Hills and worked in Century City.

    Following in the footsteps of my high-school hero, James Joyce, and the hero of A Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man, Stephen Daedalus, I decided, after much thought and prayer, believe it or not, that The Bible and God were nothing more than a myth. This belief, I must say, was reinforced by my freshman year formation at Stanford under the tutelage of my advisor, an Andover-Harvard educated Marxist/materialist historian. Mine was a lost faith, totally consistent with the ideas about world myth promoted by the lapsed Roman Catholic Joseph Campbell, professor of myth at, I believe, Bryn Mawr. But, really, my lost faith happened long before I reached Stanford or even heard of the books on myth by Joseph Campbell. (“Joseph”…foster-father of Christ, his protector and Mary’s…how ironic, in Professor Campbell’s case.)

    Staring at the nape of Lance’s neck, looking forward to another night of love-making, feeling very loose and relaxed, having consumed two martinis, earlier that evening, suddenly, I hear a voice.

    It speaks from inside me, I note, as Lance hears nothing.

    It says, in about three sentences, something to this effect: “Down that way lies death.” I tried but couldn’t commit to memory verbatim what the voice said. But, I was able to summarize the voice’s message, in the manner above, and remember that. Again, the voice used I’d say two to three sentences, which my mind crunched down to one.

    While it said what it said, I felt something, like a vibration, but not quite a shock, move through me. The vibration seemed to push out all the intoxication or inebriation, from the two cocktails, and I was, in the space of five seconds, rendered from moderately buzzed to totally sober. That was amazing enough, but what was suddenly happening to me did not stop there.

    Once sober, I felt in addition to being sober, more rational, logical, and intelligent than ever before! In that moment, I clearly recall thinking, Wow! Let me take the SAT, GRE, LSAT, again, right now! For I’d score within the 99th percentile. (For the record, my GRE score in logic or analytical thinking was above the 90th percentile and my English or verbal score above the 95th.) I felt so pure, new, and mentally powerful! I was made “pure” and “sober” and hyper-rational to choose. I didn’t understand why, but I definitely saw this connection, in an instant.

    My mind then began to analyze the message or warning of the voice. I thought, “Death,” uh-oh, what could this mean?

    I thought, first, a physical death. Lance must have some deadly STD, like HIV. Or, may be we will do drugs, later on, and I will overdose. (For the record, I was not then or have I ever been, a drug-user.)

    I paused, considering these two possibilities.

    Then, suddenly, against my own lack of faith, my own agnosticism, and my own personal conclusion that the Bible and God were merely primitive myths, I thought, Or, the “death” mentioned by the voice was the death of the soul. An eternal death. Hell. The willful, knowing, and reflected upon rejection by a human spirit of the holy life of the following/people (“church”) of God (see Lev. 20, 13 and 1 Cor. 6, 9) and all relationship to God the Father (“[B]e holy; for I, the LORD, your God, am holy,” Lev. 20, 7) through God the Son in union with God the Spirit, not only on earth but for all eternity. This seemed to strike home; it seemed a real possibility! And, both these definitions of “death,” physical and spiritual, which shot through my mind within the first 5-10 seconds or so, following the out-of-the blue, shocking, internal utterance, seemed to be in play as real possibilities, insofar as the meaning of the absolutely beautiful warning was concerned.

    Lastly, after my instantaneous conclusion that the “death” warned of was more than simply a “death” of the body, but one also of the soul, my mind immediately and automatically began to analyze the voice giving the warning. It was nothing like any earthly voice I’d ever heard. It was so intricate, elaborate, and utterly beautiful. It was very near to what I might describe as Shakespeare, at his very best. A door-sculpture at Chartres. A piece of stained glass at Notre Dame de Paris. In other words, this was not “me.” This was not my or our modern American English. This was not my conscience, my internal do-this or don’t-do-that voice, speaking, one heard with the ears of the heart, not the head.

    This voice was something else, something older, something so old, in fact, that I was overcome by this vision of an ancient, craggy, desert landscape, in my effort to place this voice, while it spoke. And, it was from this ancient place that the truly unique and beautiful voice spoke. In the moment, I sensed that this voice was coming to me, speaking to me, from someplace on on earth, but from a place and time before man began. That’s what I concluded, on the spot, which, along with everything else about these five seconds, utterly shocked, baffled, and troubled me. I was perfectly sane. I didn’t believe in God. I found Lance comely, accomplished, and charming, if not lovable. What the hell was going on? I questioned. The voice and its message stopped me dead in my tracks.

    I’d never experienced anything like this before or, thankfully, since (for how unnerving it is for something like this to happen).

    Given this, I felt that I had to set aside the gifts that Lance had given to me that evening; that I had to set aside our brand new relationship, which was totally new and different for me…so seductive, so mesmerizing, so seemingly good; and that I had to get out of there, his Manhattan Beach house, and think about what just happened, about what just transpired…and about what it meant for me and my life…the voice…the message/warning…the vision of a pre-man earth…and all!

    It was so powerful. What occurred. It changed my life. Totally! In an instant! Although I was not given any charge from God, like St. Paul during this conversion experience, I can definitely empathize with him as a man who was hit and changed by what only can be called a supernatural experience, something beyond the laws of nature, reason, or everyday reality. I may not have been knocked off a draft animal and blinded, but trust me when I say that it sure felt like it!

    So, within about fives minutes of the internal warning, I made up some lame excuse, left, hopped in my car, and hit the 405 Freeway headed north, thinking, “Oh my God! There is a God! NO WAY!!!”

    I would see Lance again twice to sort of work out the break up. It was hard. It was clear than we’d fallen in love. In fact, his confessions of love, before that fateful night, that ended it all, were honestly spoken so beautifully that they were as deep and remarkable, in every way, as any poetry I’d ever read! His words to me, the words that seduced me, were astounding in their beauty that on one occasion I wondered, Could they be real? They’re so perfect? So…immortal?

    Nevertheless, that night I was given a choice: to choose love of Lance (and death) or love of God (and life). In an instant, I guess the Catholic boy in me chose God. I’ve never regretted it. It has never felt wrong.

    In 1996, Lance died. I suspect near or with his parents, who lived in Washington. I don’t know; we’d gone our separate ways by then. I don’t what he died of, but it doesn’t matter, for in my gut, I know. I know. At the tender age of 30, Lance passed out of this life two days before I would turn 32. Years after his death, I would research and find this out, trying to make sense of this whole experience.

    So, the voice spoke truth. It did not lie. And, it saved me life, not only my life here on earth, but my eternal life. For that, I will be forever grateful.

    It took me five years to speak about this experience to another human being, a fellow law firm lawyer, over cocktails, who, at the end of the night, asked if I wanted to share her bed. She was engaged, and I really didn’t think it, well, “appropriate.” So, I, as graciously as possible, declined, despite her graduating number one in her law school class and being quite cute. (For the record, she broke off her engagement.) Funny, I thought sharing the experience would have the very opposite effect on her; but, alas, it didn’t. I think she found it “sexy.” I don’t know, I’ve never been quite able to figure out women. They are very different creatures from men.

    I’ve shared my conversion story with my family, friends, and a select group of priests and nuns. The Catholics (and Reform Christians) all think my conversion experience to be very much like St. Paul’s and to be a genuine mystical experience and that I may have a calling, a gift, and/or a mission of some sort, which I must discern. However, the others — namely, my atheist friends — think I lost my mind, at least momentarily, that night at Lance’s.

    For the record, I’ve sought out two professional psychological opinions, regarding this incident. And, I was told, by two separate psyche professionals, the exact same thing, that the “voice” in 1994 was NOT “the kind of voice that people suffering from psychosis hear.” Then, both professionals said, with over 40 years experience between them, in very serious, muted, disinterested voices, “The voice you heard was, in my opinion, God.” Of course, I had to undergo a battery of questions and a number of sessions, before this conclusion was reached. The last psyche professional, who switched careers from Christian ministry to psychology and who held a M.Div. from the Fuller Theological Seminary, became convinced in the course of our analysis of the 1994 incident that I had a calling or vocation. I disagreed and continue to disagree with this, even if this opinion is shared by others who know me very well. The beautiful, truthful, graceful voice that spoke to me, only once, that e vening in ’94, did not call me to the priesthood. Nor did it give me a charge, duty, or responsibility, as it did St. Paul, some 2,000 years ago. In that regard, our conversion experiences differ. The voice merely warned me. It saved me from a potentially bad or deadly outcome out of love, divine love. Nice. :)

    Frankly, I wish these psyche professionals said, my dear friend, modern medicine (i.e., the DSM IV) tells us that you suffer from such and such a disorder; here, take this pill! Then, I could forget all about God, religion, the law of love, sin, works, judgment, Purgatory, Heaven, and Hell, and all the rest! And, go back to living my life, my humble, simple, anonymous, sensual life, according to my own lights.

    But, alas, I can’t. God (and my totally logical/rational conscience) won’t let me.

    Needless to say, after much thought and exploration, I ended up back in the Church and her sacraments and prayer-life (i.e., Liturgy of the Hours).

    Unlike other men with a gay or bisexual past, I don’t feel as though I’m “living a lie.” On the contrary, I feel, very much, to be “living the truth.” A truth that I don’t impose on anybody else. A truth that is entirely my own. Appropriate for me and all that I am and ever will be.

    Of course, this does not mean that I don’t believe that the truth God spoke and sent vibrating through every cell of body that night isn’t an objective reality or impartial truth that others would be wise to heed. For truth is truth, and I do believe that what was given me, that night, was objective, eternal, universal truth. I just don’t go around beating up people, straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, or otherwise with it. That is NOT me. Moreover, as the New Testament teaches, it is the Spirit who truly converts the heart, not man.

    I initially thought that I wouldn’t, or shouldn’t, share my Pauline conversion experience. But, people need to hear it. People need to be reminded that there is something more to life than what our current physics, etc., can reduce to a mathematical formula; that the narrative given humankind through The Bible is no accident; we are beings of consciousness, consciousness stored in memories, memories stored in narratives; God knows this, for He created us this way. People need to know that we are connected to a much larger drama, and that we all play our respective roles or parts, whether we like it or not, or even if we realize it or not.

    Don’t be afraid. Take courage (Bon courage). And, play your part.

    Make a difference. Life is short. Tomorrow is not guaranteed.

    (read more, if interested, on my blog http://cdleightonjr.blogspot.com/)

    ReplyC.D.
    • Social Networking satisfies teegrneas need of imaginary audience where they think the world must know what is happening to them. There are teegrneas who constantly log onto facebook to update everything they are doing such as I am in class or I am hungry. They believe that people will read their status and maybe other people will respond or comment on their post. Social networking also provides a channel for sympathy because when you put up a pessimistic status message, many people will either click like on the post or comment on it, which generate more negative energy and the person might feel more need to update the sad stories about their lives. One thing parents and teachers should do is to acknowledge what these teegrneas are going through. We should provide comfort and positive sympathy toward these kids. They need to know that you care about them and God cares about them too. No matter who what where and what, God is always watching and ready to comfort us. I find that kids who have a strong relationship with parents and God are less likely to log on to these social networking websites because the people around them satisfy their need of attention.

      ReplyLubega
  76. I had the privilege of listening to you talk about your new book on NPR yesterday, and while I did not necessarily agree with everything that you said, I truly enjoyed listening. I wanted to share something with you that I thought you might find interesting since it relates to the idea of God speaking, but is a somewhat different perspective.

    I consider myself an Evangelical Christian like you spoke of, but I am not affiliated with the Vineyard church. I am a member of a non-denominational Charismatic Christian church. I do believe that God speaks in a way similar to what you talked about, but I believe He also (and more prominently) speaks to us through His Word (the Bible). As Christians, we believe that the Word is inspired of God so even though it was written by men, it is His words to us. While it is certainly an ancient text, it is described as “profitable for doctrine, reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16). So, let me give you an example of how I believe He speaks through the Word.

    I normally spend about 45 minutes in the morning studying my Bible and praying. I have a daily devotional that I read, but I also use other references such as books by pastors or sermons from podcasts. Sometimes I’ll play worship music. Often times there will be a common theme throughout all of these sources, sometimes there will be the exact same scripture. Normally for me, when God is trying to share something with me I will encounter that scripture three times (which is the Biblical number for completion). I remember one morning where I woke up and a certain scripture came to mind as soon as I stepped out of bed (and we’re not talking about the super common scriptures that everyone knows and pastors use all time, these are obscure scriptures that unless you read the Bible often, you’ve probably never heard them). As I sat down to read my devotional, it was a study of that exact same verse. Later that night as I got into bed, I opened my book that I read before I go to bed at night and it was talking about the exact same scripture.Another time, I picked a random song in iTunes and the singer was singing a specific chapter of Psalms. I opened my devotional afterwards and it was studying the same chapter. I remember another time that I was studying a specific verse, and I just didn’t understand what it was trying to say so I read it over and over in different translations. I used my Greek dictionary and different concordances. I probably sat there and studied this verse for at least an hour trying to understand what God was saying. I finally gave up and decided to go to bed. I opened up the book I read before going to bed and the author was talking about that exact same verse and he talked about it with such clarity and understanding that I immediately understood the meaning.

    I had actually been conducting my own study over the last few weeks on the topic of “the Word”, but I didn’t really know why I was or how I was supposed to apply it to my life at the time. When I was listening to your show, I starting thinking about all the things I had been studying and how the Word is the primary way that I hear from God. This morning as I was thinking about what I wanted to write to you, I picked up my morning book and read this, “The Word of God will not change for anyone. The word of God is like a two-edged sword, dividing even the soul and the spirit (Heb 4:12), and it is all the time putting away what man says and giving you what God says.” (Smith Wigglesworth on Heaven).

    ReplyLindsey
  77. I thought that I would share with you, one of my many strange experiences. Let’s call it “God and the Paperclip” First, a quick back-round. I was raised Catholic. Believed in God, because it’s what I was taught, but never really experienced God for myself. Looking back it seemed like the fear of God was to be the main lesson. That’s all a little fuzzy now. Closing in on 49 years of age. Wow! I digress. Back to the paperclip. My instrument of choice is the guitar but a friend of mine approached me to play the Bass guitar for a church service. I said yes and found myself really enjoying the services held by Pastor Lee Eclov so I attended for a couple of years. There were times where I could sense lulls in my faith.
    I assumed that everyone had them and didn’t give it much thought. I guess you could say that I chocked it up to being human. One evening , my girlfriend and I headed off for the evening rehearsal. (the song that night was called “Man of Integrity” written by Warren Sullivan. The only song that moved me to tears to that point in my life) Moving along……. I was at the bottom of one of my above mentioned “lulls”, so when we got to the rehearsal, I found myself going through the motions. I was sitting in the front of the auditorium, waiting until I was called to “assume the Rock Position”. As I sat there waiting, I noticed a paperclip at my feet. What is the first thing you do, when you’re sitting idle, and find an unassuming paperclip? You straighten it out! You make it into a ring and wrap it around your finger. You make it into an “almost square” cause there is that little space missing that just doesn’t quite make it square. I’m sure that I had contorted that poor paperclip to the point of breaking. At one point, I had ahold of both ends and I was spinning it between my fingers. I noticed that it felt a little off balance. As I looked down I saw something quite astonishing. And for the record, I don’t ever recall feeling truly astonished before that moment. Perhaps I didn’t know the true meaning of the word until that day. There in my hands, was Christ on the cross! Tanya, I don’t think I can accurately express the level of detail or how incredible it was to scale. My first reaction was to look up at the Crucifix that was there in the church. I should mention that my heart rate was off the charts. The detail was ridiculous. The head was in perfect proportion to the body. The arms were exactly to scale with the legs. The head was cast down in the same manner as the Crucifix. The legs were overlapped in the exact manner too! I wanted to yell out, look at this! I didn’t ,but it was close. When my girlfriend finished her part of the rehearsal, she came down from the stage and I showed her the paperclip. She said, Wow! that is really awesome! I explained that I hadn’t fashioned it….it just happened. I’m telling you, Tanya I never looked at paperclip, after I had the failed attempt at that darn evasive “square” (can’t be done). I tried to recreate my creation a few years later. Not even close. I kept that paperclip in my wallet for a few years until ultimately it disintegrated. Seemed that I got what I needed, when I needed it.

    ReplyTanya Luhrmann
  78. On November 5, 2011, while walking for exercise, I thought of a former pastor of a large church we attended for seven years, from 2000 through 2007. Call him Pastor John. When I got home from the walk, I sent him this email:

    Pastor John:

    I was walking today listening to Matthew’s gospel on my iPod, and I thought of you. We attended your church for nearly seven years. I still listen to your doctrines of grace series on my iPod once a year or so. About nine or ten years ago you spoke in your sermon about vacationing at the Sea Ranch in Northern California. In 2002 I read a short poem, “Afternoon Walk: Sea Ranch” in Poetry Magazine, and I meant to send it to you. I forgot. I remembered today, found it in my archives, and hope it is God’s timing. I lived in Carmel, CA in the late 80s and drove by the Sea Ranch several times driving up Highway 1, looking out over the ice plants at the sea as I drove by. The poem moved me and I only drove by the Sea Ranch. Here is the poem, and I have attached it as PDF in case you like it and want to share it.

    AFTERNOON WALK: THE SEA RANCH

    In memory of E.L.G.

    Late light, uneven mole-gnawed meadow,
    gullies, freshets, falls, whose start and speckle
    Hopkins would have loved – and you – you too,
    who loved the sheen and shade, the forest dapple
    where grass meets cypress just beyond the house –
    you’d praise the mushroom-sprout, the chilly glisten
    as the hedgerow folds into the solstice
    and suddenly the last crisp leaves unfasten . . .

    This time of year, this place, light dims at the pace
    of a long late afternoon walk, light seems to slow
    and sorrow as the meadow turns its face
    into your unlived season, the winter hollow
    where only a steep sky, in quarter inches,
    adjusts descending sun, ascending branches.

    SANDRA M. GILBERT

    Poetry
    October/November 2002

    The “Hopkins” reference is surely to Gerald Manley Hopkins and his memorable nature poems written in 1877, of which this is his most famous:

    GOD’S GRANDEUR

    The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
    It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
    It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
    Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?
    Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
    And all is seared with trade; Bleared, smeared with toil;
    And wears man’s smudge and shares man’s smell: the soil
    Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.

    And for all this, nature is never spent;
    There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
    And though the last lights off the black West went
    Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs —
    Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
    World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.

    ———————————-

    The first poem in the email that I had forgotten to send him for 9 years describes the memory of walking through the Sea Ranch, a Northern California resort on the shore of the Pacific Ocean, with a deceased loved one, likely the poet’s spouse.

    A few days later I was at Starbucks and noticed a younger man reading a book by R. C. Sproul, a favorite Christian theologian and writer. He was also writing in a notebook. I struck up a conversation, telling him how much I admired R. C. Sproul, and that Sproul’s book Chosen by God was one of my favorite books – a clear and concise discussion of predestination and Calvinism. He said it was also one of his. We were both Calvinists. [As I see it, John Calvin adopts the doctrine of election and predestination first articulated by the Apostle Paul in his letters, and then by St. Augustine. Calvin relies on Scripture and Augustine, and states the doctrine so well, that his name was attached to the Biblical doctrine. Martin Luther also accepted the Augustinian view of predestination and election].

    The young man said he was a pastor of a church nearby, that he had come to Calvinism gradually, having been educated at an Arminian seminary, and was now a Presbyterian pastor, in the same denomination as Sproul. Calvinists believe that God alone saves people — He chooses His elect before the foundation of the world, his grace is irresistible and once a person is saved, he will persevere. Arminians believe that God, and man through the grace of God, and his free will, chooses God, that therefore God elects believers who choose Him, His grace is not irresistible, man can resist, and that once saved, a believer can fall away and lose his salvation.

    I told him that I had come to agree with Calvinism over time in the late 90s, and that I became firm in that doctrine from the teaching of Pastor John, to whom I wrote the email above. He said he was a good friend of Pastor John. Then, he told me that Pastor John’s wife had died a week ago. I had not heard about her death.

    I was shocked to hear this. I had just sent Pastor John a poem about walking at the Sea Ranch with a deceased loved one within a week after his wife had died, a dear loved one with whom he had surely walked at the Sea Ranch. I hope that God wanted Pastor John to have that poem now, and that it was a blessing to him in his grief, and something he could refer to in the years ahead to recall fond memories. If it was as I hope, then surely it was God’s timing for me to remember to send it to him after 9 years!

    ReplyDavid
  79. I consider myself an Evangelical Christian like you spoke of, but I am not affiliated with the Vineyard church. I am a member of a non-denominational Charismatic Christian church. I do believe that God speaks in a way similar to what you talked about, but I believe He also (and more prominently) speaks to us through His Word (the Bible). As Christians, we believe that the Word is inspired of God so even though it was written by men, it is His words to us. While it is certainly an ancient text, it is described as “profitable for doctrine, reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16). So, let me give you an example of how I believe He speaks through the Word.

    I normally spend about 45 minutes in the morning studying my Bible and praying. I have a daily devotional that I read, but I also use other references such as books by pastors or sermons from podcasts. Sometimes I’ll play worship music. Often times there will be a common theme throughout all of these sources, sometimes there will be the exact same scripture. Normally for me, when God is trying to share something with me I will encounter that scripture three times (which is the Biblical number for completion). I remember one morning where I woke up and a certain scripture came to mind as soon as I stepped out of bed (and we’re not talking about the super common scriptures that everyone knows and pastors use all time, these are obscure scriptures that unless you read the Bible often, you’ve probably never heard them). As I sat down to read my devotional, it was a study of that exact same verse. Later that night as I got into bed, I opened my book that I read before I go to bed at night and it was talking about the exact same scripture.

    Another time, I picked a random song in iTunes and the singer was singing a specific chapter of Psalms. I opened my devotional afterwards and it was studying the same chapter. I remember another time that I was studying a specific verse, and I just didn’t understand what it was trying to say so I read it over and over in different translations. I used my Greek dictionary and different concordances. I probably sat there and studied this verse for at least an hour trying to understand what God was saying. I finally gave up and decided to go to bed. I opened up the book I read before going to bed and the author was talking about that exact same verse and he talked about it with such clarity and understanding that I immediately understood the meaning.

    I had actually been conducting my own study over the last few weeks on the topic of “the Word”, but I didn’t really know why I was or how I was supposed to apply it to my life at the time. When I was listening to your show, I starting thinking about all the things I had been studying and how the Word is the primary way that I hear from God. This morning as I was thinking about what I wanted to write to you, I picked up my morning book and read this, “The Word of God will not change for anyone. The word of God is like a two-edged sword, dividing even the soul and the spirit (Heb 4:12), and it is all the time putting away what man says and giving you what God says.” (Smith Wigglesworth on Heaven).

    ReplyLindsey
  80. Around ten years ago, the chairman of the board of elders of our small church stood up and announced, “Pastor S. has something to tell you.” The pastor, pale and shaken, confessed to a 13 year pornography habit. The next morning, my wife woke up and told me, “That’s strange. I just had a dream and was given two Bible references, and I have no idea what they say.” I replied, “I just had a dream and was given one reference, and I have no idea what it says.” When we looked the verses up, they said, essentially, “Expel the immoral brother,” “I was homeless,” and “You took me in.” We told the church board about the dreams and said we felt we were to open up a room in our home–my wife’s office–for the pastor, whose wife had kicked him out. He stayed with us for five months. That by no means solved all of the problems, but the message coming from dreams of two individuals seemed to be a clear direction for an action to be taken at the time.

  81. The first entry here of FC Happold’s experience describes mine better than I’ve ever been able to. It was in 1981 when I was a sophomore at the University of Arizona, pursuing a degree in Aerospace Engineering. I was reading a book about the Shroud of Turin out of scientific interest, curious about the results of the scientific investigations performed a few years prior. I was in my apartement, alone in a bedroom set up as an office. The experience came on suddenly but gently. I simply put the book down and let it happen…

    ReplyDenis
    • Hi, can you say more about this? It sounds so interesting …

      ReplyTanya
  82. Since I was so upset and didn’t know what else to do I went home. I had never prayed anything but emergency prayers in my life, you know, God pleeeeeease don’t let this airplane fall out of the sky, I had had a couple of close calls, one in a jungle in Africa and believe me, I was praying. Or God, if you get me this job, I promise I will do something, not do something. I truly did not know how to talk to God but I remember saying, “You know how terrible I feel and I don’t want to die and I don’t want to live like this any more. Please help me”.

    The Lord spoke to my heart for the first time I ever really heard Him. His message was clear and unmistakable, in words I heard in my brain not in my ears. These are the exact words He said, “Forgive those people. Don’t look behind yourself at them, look ahead to Me.” Instead of the suicide thing that is what filled my brain! I almost fell over, I could not believe that God Himself had a message for me. I was surprised to know I needed to forgive my parents, but I immediately did. The Lord delivered me at that moment 24 years ago and I never felt suicidal again. I didn’t even know the Lord but I was already experiencing His power. He was “calling me out of darkness into His marvelous light”.

    ReplySusan
  83. When I was in my early 20’s I was in the midst of turmoil. My father had recently died from chronic alcoholism at the age of 57. I was stumped as to what my life path should be. In about two or three instances of great inner turmoil, I clearly heard a woman’s voice- strong and firm (yet gentle) giving me encouragement and guidance. I often wonder if that voice was a manifestation of the Holy Spirit.

    ReplyTom
  84. When I was 6 years old in the 1950’s, my maternal grandmother came from Houston to St. Louis to visit us for several weeks. While she was there, my mother decided to go to downtown St. Louis to one of the large department stores to shop. My grandmother didn’t want to go, so she stayed home while my mother and I went shopping. We had been at the store for an hour or so, when all of a sudden, my mother distinctly heard my grandmother say “Oh Clotile (my mother’s name), Clotile, why can’t you be here.” It was so distinct that my mother abruptly stopped shopping and started frantically looking for my grandmother, whom she assumed had somehow managed to come to the department store – something that would have been impossible because she had no transportation from our house and would have had no idea where the store was located – she did not know her way around St. Louis. My mother had me help look for her. When we couldn’t find her on the floor we were on, my mother had her paged over the store intercom. She tried to call her, but our home phone was busy and she could not get through. Frantic, my mother abruptly stopped shopping. She was looking for a wedding present and had been on a true shopping mission, so to just totally stop and leave was incredulous to me – we had planned to spend the day in downtown St. Louis. We went home immediately and found that my grandmother had received a call from relatives in Houston telling her that her son had just died from a massive heart attack. When she hung up from that call, she had said to no one – she was home alone – “Oh Clotile, Clotile, why can’t you be here.” She then started calling other family members, which is why we could not get her on the phone.

    I did not hear the voice, but my mother said it sounded like my grandmother was only a few feet away from her, and it was very distinct. Neither of these ladies were mentally “off”, and I don’t know of another incident like this. My mother was a Rice University graduate and held professional jobs all her life.

    I am now 60+ years old, and my conclusion from this dramatic experience is that there are, in fact, other means of communication that few of us experience and that we don’t – with our modern, western civilization understanding of the world – understand. I firmly believe experiences like this cannot all be dismissed as some manifestation of mental illness or brain dysfunction or cultural training.

    ReplyCarolyn
  85. On Sunday, August 11, 2002, I awoke late, around 9:00 a.m., fully rested after a good eight hour sleep. I was lying on my back in bed. I clearly heard the voice of my mother calling, “Dave . . . Dave.” It was alarming. My mother, in her seventies, lived in a nursing home about ten miles from my home. She had Alzheimer’s. Because of the sad mixture of feelings I experienced seeing her like that, I had avoided seeing her for a few months since a family get together for her May birthday. Although her sight was nearly gone, along with her memory, she always recognized my voice.

    That morning, when I heard her voice, I responded to her with my own voice in my head, guiltily, saying “I’m coming to see you today, Mom.” Shortly after getting out of bed, I called my sister to see if my mother had some recent health setback. She told me that she had seen her last week and that she was fine as she could be in her condition.

    I went to see my mother that morning with my wife and son. She was cheerful. She seemed happy to see us. We had a conversation that was mostly spoken pleasantries that she heard, acknowledged, but clearly did not understand. Her last words when we were leaving were, “There’s that blue kitty again.” She had frequent benign hallucinations. Unexpectedly, she died of a heart attack four days later. Obviously, I’m very glad I heard her voice in my head that Sunday morning. I consider it the grace of God, mercifully sparing me the guilt of the neglect I would have endlessly felt had I not seen her shortly before she passed away. I have not heard any voices since then.

    Around 1988, I told some of these stories to a Roman Catholic nun who was waiting outside the law office where I worked in Monterey, California at the time. I asked her what she thought. She smiled. “The language of Heaven,” she summed up. Catholic or protestant, evangelical or mainline, regardless of the denomination or non-denomination, Christian true believers know the language of Heaven. Their God is a living God who is at work in their lives. I am grateful that God cared enough to provide me with supernatural confirmation of His presence in the natural world.

    see more at http://betweentwocities.com/spiritual-memoir/

    ReplyDave
  86. Here is one of my favorite experiences from the literature on mysticism:

    “It happened in my room in Peterhouse on the evening of 1 February 1913, when I was an undergraduate at Cambridge … There was just the room, with its shabby furniture and the fire burning in the grate and the red-shaded lamp on the table. But the room was filled by a Presence, which in a strange way was about me and in me, like light or warmth. I was overwhelmingly possessed by Someone who was not myself, and yet I felt that I was more myself than I had ever been before. I was filled with an intense happiness, and an almost unbearable joy, such as I had never known before and I have never known since. And over all was a deep sense of peace and security and certainty … It was very wonderful and quite unforgettable …”

    This is FC Happold’s account of the experience that moved him to assemble a remarkable anthropology of mysticism.

    Have you encountered the presence of God in a similar way?

    ReplyTanya Luhrmann
    • I want to know why im not connected with my old frineds from high school. I feel like I’m missing out on relationships. I’m also single and want to know why I’m not in a relationship with someone I can call my husband. I hate being alone and I feel the stress inside my body. I also don’t have a job right now. All I do is go to church faithfully but I’m not working unto God to advance in his Kingdom. I know god and I love him with all my heart but need to find those connections with others that allows me to feel connected again. I need to know that I’m loved and want to be in a strong relationships with other Christians. Please let me know what I could do to advance god’s kingdom. Thanks.. KIMVi

      ReplyGilberta
    • I am just finishing a Masters degree in Divinity, My wife is a consultant Psychiatrist. When she told me her Father was ill a few Mondays ago I received a message very clearly – just one word ‘Thursday’. I suggested she should contact her brother and mother (Her parents separated some years ago) and ask them to fly in from where they live to see the old man within the next 2 days – before thursday.
      Despite the old man being released from hospital on Monday afternoon – her atheist brother arrived on Wednesday afternoon and was present when the old man passed on at 2 am on Thursday morning. Her slightly less atheist (more agnostic) mother was too busy. When she arrived at lunchtime onThursday he was already in the morgue. All she could do was help organise the funeral.
      I study the scriptures most days – I get a word from the Lord that is as clear as that about every 5 or 10 years.
      Is that the sort of thing that we are meant to post about on this forum?

      Replyhuw
      • I appreciate your hoensty here, Melissa. I was (am) so much like you when it comes to sharing my faith. Until this semester when God placed an atheist in my class (and I teach at a Christian college!) . . . at the same time that my pastor is speaking on God’s Answer to Atheism. I have started to realize, through wonderful discussions with my student (he’s really coming along, praise God!) that I should not be afraid to talk to people who don’t believe, because they are looking for the same thing we’re all looking for peace, joy, Jesus. The difference is, I have the TRUTH. With the truth on my side I have nothing to fear.

        ReplyLogan
        • You assume much with neither experience nor evidence. The “atheist” in your class sounds like an agnostic to me, “someone who can’t make up his mind,” who wants it both ways, who is insecure and unclear. “We are all atheists about most of the gods that humanity has ever believed in. Some of us just go one god further,” Richard Dawkins in The God Delusion.

          By-and-large, “people who don’t believe” have removed doubt from the equation, are NOT looking for the same thing “we” are “all looking for, peace, joy….” The consensus is that we Atheists have found truth, shaken off the enslaving mythology of deities, and have found peace and joy in ourselves, not in Jesus – whose historical existence I personally doubt and there is no evidence of – or any other sacred cow.

          I ‘lost’ gØd and lost the fear of death, so essential to religious faith. I lost gØd and found peace of mind. I lost gØd and gained the joys of intellectual freedom and honesty. I lost gØd and gained reason. The moment you embrace gØds you abandon reason. The absurdity of gØd is irreconcilable with reason.

          As an artist, a painter, I am lost in the only ‘prayer’ I know, my work, most often an out of body” experience, a pseudo-psychotic episode of sorts. In looking at the end product, I “don’t know how the image got there.” I listen to my inner voice and see my inner vision. To quote the painter Francis Bacon, “There is no such thing as inspiration, only regular work.” It comes from within, from your own personal effort.

          In Atheism I found everything religion promised and couldn’t deliver and I assume personal responsibility for my failures and successes. I accept my finality as natural. What more do I need from life? I am content: born gØdless (as we all are), raised Catholic, Jesuit educated (who taught me to doubt all and question everything), reborn Atheist, good without gØds. I don’t discuss gØd. There is nothing to discuss. I don’t proselytize. I respond to the gØdly when pressed, as Ms Luhrmann has been doing in her unsubstantiated and unsupportable articles in The New York Times, if only because I’ve grown tired of religionists shoving their beliefs, delusions and hallucinations down our throats.

          ReplyRobert Coane
    • Hello, enjoyed reading the article which appeared on CNN this morning. Yes I have frequent encounters…..I pray throughout the day, although my morning prayer is very ritual. Almost every morning, when I have lift my arms to the sky in prayer, I feel the very strong shiver that enters from my right hand side and takes over my whole body….I know it is God, who is showing his presence and to also let me know, he has heard my prayers. This also happens when I help a needy individual and ask God to accept my donation in his mighty name…..right now that I am writing to you, he is present by me, since the wonderful shivers are going through me…..!

      ReplyFerryal
    • I am a christian and I have felt this many times, in some measure I have felt it all the time since becoming a Christian.

      ReplyJohn
    • Yes. I had the exact experience–only once–40 years ago. I was 18, laying in bed, looking at the night stars and reflecting on the size of the Universe. After a while, my imagination had me way out there and my thought turned to the relative size of Earth from such a distance. To get things in scale I threw my own little self into the equation. I became so insignificant in comparison that I seemed to vanish into nothingness. In that instant a rush seemed to fill me, making me literally rise up. A sense of oneness with all, perfect understanding, accompanied by an all-encompassing presence of love. The effect was literally cleansing, leaving me with an image of purest water having washed through my veins. I concluded it must be a religious thing, although I went many years without mentioning it. I read a similar account by Thomas Merton years later, which led me to read Andrew Newberg’s books. Whatever the cause, I chalk it up to a real experience.

      ReplyJimmy
    • I have never told anyone this. I am a secular liberal. I was going thru a divorce around 1980 and was so afraid. I remember thinking, “Dear God, what am I going to do?” I heard a voice that said “You don’t have to do anything, you just have to be.” Not a thought that would have originated from my mind. And a voice totally outside my thinking voice. I received the same message again around that time, and have never had the experience again.

    • Greetings Tanya,
      A friend of mine just sent me a link re: your new book, which led me here. And your work and approach appear wonderfully open and fresh. This forum is an interesting idea, and I have several experiences that could be shared here, but I’ll pick one
      I am an Interfaith Seminarian (ordination/graduation to occur next week), a long time student of A Course in Miracles and a licensed Religious Science Practitioner. Raised in a non-religious, humanistic sort of atmosphere – political activism, human rights, etc.
      21 years ago I was going through a separation/divorce which precipitated a dark night experience, that then inspired me to get a dusty volume of A Course in Miracles, that I’d had for a couple years at least, off my shelf and start studying it, including a commitment to the The Workbook section – 365 daily lessons for recognizing and releasing the constricting sub-conscious thought patterns that are ‘Blocks to the awareness of Love’s Presence’, a.k.a. ‘real forgiveness’. I was very much ‘led’, and through this went through a spiritual awakening that began my conscious awareness/relationship with the Holy Spirit/our own collective Divine Right Mind that communicates with everyone open to it in an intensely personal way that can lead to a universal experience of the Presence (of God).
      So here’s the best I can do to describe an indescribable experience 😉 – I call it The Road to Columbus experience in a somewhat lighthearted reference to Paul’s, (who was Saul) Road to Damascus experience –

      Road to Columbus Experience
      It was a lovely September day in 1992 I believe, and I was driving along one of my favorite country roads (happens to be called Mt. Pleasant Rd.)in my old black Chevy Suburban one Friday lunchtime on the way to the bank. Pretty distracted and anxious for a multitude of reasons, most of which I felt guilty about (an important point)…  So, I was coming around a blind curve, going too fast, not very present and got distracted for a moment when I suddenly noticed a man walking in the road, right in the middle of my lane… There was barely enough time to hit the brakes, I was absolutely mortified and hit him square on at 45- 50 mph. He went flying… I was immediately consumed with profoundly unbearable guilt, which catapulted me into a state of complete surrender/ego collapse, or as I have referred to it subsequently a complete and unqualified “UNCLE”…  My immediate thoughts being – “I thought that (meaning my distractions – the separation/divorce situation I was coming through, scary financial state, etc.) was bad…, now I’ve killed someone… THIS is bad, really BAD… This… in fact… is as bad as it gets…” My resultant profoundly sincere and immediate prayer was simply “GOD HELP ME!!!” The next thing I knew I was having a totally different experience, completely independent of time/space/form. No body, and time was irrelevant, could have been a nano-second… could’ve been a millennium… and not having a body I couldn’t even begin to explain what the experience ‘no space’ was in any terms that would be relevant… The only way I can describe it is perfect bliss – Perfect Love, I experienced ‘Being’… Home “In the heart of God”. It was crystal clear that this was a much more real experience than anything else that had occurred up to that point in my life…  Then I heard the voice of the Holy Spirit (which I had been hearing occasionally in other situations since beginning my immersion in The ACIM Workbook) saying ever so matter of factly “It doesn’t matter, it just does not matter. Everything you think is SO important in “your world”, all the things you label as good or bad; important or trivial; scary or safe; beautiful or ugly; wise or foolish, etc. …are really meaningless, they ultimately mean nothing, no-thing… God’s Perfect Creation is not diminished or embellished in any way by anything that you imagine (and It meant that everything we think is happening here we are imagining) occurs there. It just doesn’t matter…” So… I let it in… I allowed it, I got it, and It was the most gloriously liberating and expansive experience I have consciously experienced (so far, in this lifetime anyway…).

      ….The next thing I was aware of I was back in the time/space/form experience, sitting behind the wheel of the Suburban, both hands on the wheel at 10 and 2, about 100 ft. ahead of where ‘the incident’ had occurred, looking straight into the rear view mirror at the fellow I had hit with my car now walking unscathed right in the middle of my lane, just where he had been a millennium… or… a nano-second earlier… In other words it was now as though it had never occurred.
      And I suppose that might be the point…

      PS – there are a multitude of effective and beautiful paths to God, ACIM just happens to be one that was/is a key to the particular adjustment of the lock on my consciousness. That being said, I’d like to honor It and Jesus, Helen Schucman and Bill Thetford – the beings responsible for its presence in the world, by including the brief intro to the approx. 1200 page volume.

      1. This is a course in miracles. It is a required course. Only the time you take it is voluntary. Free will does not mean that you can establish the curriculum. It means only that you can elect what you want to take any given time. The course does not aim at teaching the meaning of love, for that is beyond what can be taught. It does aim, however, that removing the blocks to the awareness of love’s presence, which is your natural inheritance. The opposite of love is fear, but what is all encompassing can have no opposite.
      2. This course can therefore be summed up very simply. In this way:
      Nothing Real can be threatened.
      Nothing unreal exists.
      Herein lies the Peace of God.”
      ~ ACIM introduction

      ReplyCarrie
    • In response to your March 2012 posting Re. FC Happold; you posed the question if anyone had ever experienced God through a mystical experience? YES. While driving my tractor today (I am an equipment operator), while listening to your interview with Mary Hynes (Tapestry) memories flooded back of an experience from a 2008 encounter. I have always believed in and contemplated God. I had never really understood however, the Jesus story. In the past 5 years I had watched and tried to care for my elderly parents as they became ill and passed away. I had been bothered because I had always felt that I could have done more. While fixing a machine one morning, I like Mr Happold, had been swept away in a blink of an eye. There was no question about having been swept up by Jesus. I had been shown all relevant truth. Having experienced this, I felt (and still) that there is no need to hang onto guilt. After this I could sense being at the edge of a great kingdom. I could not yet enter, but felt the greatest warmth and comfort possible. To this day I feel that this was my true taste of reality. Everything else here on earth feels incomplete.
      I will never change the world. I can however recognize people who can use a hand finding some level of spirituality. These are people who usually go through the motions of life without considering a greater Being having any part of their lives. I am now content to having ordinary conversations with Jesus, knowing, the grace shown to me.

      ReplyRalph
  87. the creation nravrtiae is such a powerful story, enjoy sharing it. I have a key phrase I use when discussing this stuff with teenagers and I like to start there before digging into it:”Either this story is history or it’s a metaphorical. Either way, we learn that God loves us, God created everything, & we were made for relationship with God and others.”I find that TOO many people make evolution a case God’s non-existance, which I don’t think can be made. It’s important that our teens know that even if the creation story is a metaphor, then we’re can still have faith. They’re going to go to college someday and a very smart professor will convince them evolution is at least partially true.

    ReplyChris
  88. Priscilla, thank you for taking the time to read and to post .truly a blsseing to hear from you. And yes, you are so right that it is so easy to forget how He is our everything and wants to be our everything, our life daily. Beautiful, heart-melting words my friend.Thank you for praying that we will awaken to His truth in all it’s fullness and glory .Yes Lord, Yes Lord, we pray .Thanks again for posting ..love you and love hearing from you. (keep me posted on your search I want to know!)

    ReplyMitrofan

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