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It was Judas Iscariot who identified for me the greatest sin of all – the worst affront to God. It wasn’t his.

While he admitted his own follies, wrought  from his isolated personality, he channeled back to the planet earth that humankind’s continued, adamant, purposeful separation from God, the Father, is the worst sin of all. God indwells our personality with his spirit. We know it and can feel it, but some live in rejection of the presence, that strong inclination to love and goodness, in order to act out the bellicose territorialism of our animal natures and even turn them to malice and evil purposes.

One can ‘be still and know that I am God.’ One can recognize and follow the guidance of God’s presence within. Suppose it was your real-life father, he lived across the street, and you never visited? That deliberate separation from even the effort to know God as a creator and source of life seemed like the worst thing one could do in life.

This was mostly abstract. I had to return to my native Mississippi to more fully understand the causes and consequences of serious sin and feel it once more in my gut. I had made a long journey of open-minded spiritual discovery since leaving that homeland of hypocritical hubris.

I considered this an excellent analysis. It is part of a collection of narratives to a Rev. James Padgett in the 1920’s. The gentleman questioned the authenticity of scripture and a series of his channeled messages from Jesus and others confirmed that the text was indeed riddled with error of perception.  While living in the Midwest, I came into contact with a number of spiritual books that guided me into objective spiritual analysis.

The Urantia Book explains the cosmology of the universe and our place in it, as ascending personalities living a material experience, where we live an evolution in which we must make good moral choices to survive and continue. This evolutionary plan for mortals was created by God, known on most worlds by the genderless “First Source and Center.”

A Course in Miracles deconstructs materialistic thinking that we may realize spiritual reality as being greater than the material, even making it irrelevant in the greatest sense. We are spirits with bodies, not vice versa. We are experiencing materiality and the finiteness of the mortal life.

The Pathwork Foundation lectures provide a third worthy spiritual revelation by the fruits therein, beautiful and insightful lessons on how to clarify issues and work together on this planet for fruitful balance and service.

I learned more about Oneness in Humanity’s Team and more about caring community from the Unity Fellowship. I read channellings from the Lightworkers, who want to live above and beyond the falseness that inflicts the world’s scriptures. I joined a band of mostly Wiccan naturalists who revere and honor the beautiful land we collectively own, and the sacredness of earth.

In the Midwest, I felt a greater optimism among people, a can-do, business-like attitude. But then, with Mom’s health failing, I returned to my hometown of Calhoun City, where I was born in a tiny room in a small house in 1938. I had lived there through years of racial conflicts, sordid and regrettable. I now believed that, in its heart, racism was a spiritual issue.

As a reporter for the Jackson Daily News in 1960-61, my paper was branded a racist rag. Editor Jimmy Ward railed against northern agitators and “fuzzy-headed liberals” and I watched Freedom Riders hustled off to Parchman  state prison.  I smelled the stench of three black body bags from Neshoba County being hauled into the University Hospital.  I watched police dogs literally rip off the dress of a young black woman attempting to use the Jackson City Library. Yokels and policemen grinned and giggled.

When I became news editor for Mississippi State’s public relations department, I watched students burn an effigy of James Meredith by the statue of a Confederate general, and head off in a caravan to Oxford where segregationist militia were assembling to thwart the integration of Ole Miss. Within hours my 155th Infantry Division of the Mississippi National Guard was federalized by President John Kennedy to take us from the possible control of Gov. Ross Barnett and his white Citizens Council gang.

Our trucks plowed through brickbats, rebel yells, obscenities and the residual acrid mist of tear gas. We were all young Southern men of mixed and confused persuasions. We had fixed bayonets and not a single bullet in our M-1 chambers. We had been drafted into an enforcer role against most of our neighbors. It’s just as well they stashed us in the Holly Springs National Forest for a week until it all blew over.

By the time I left Mississippi, I was over 40 and would live in the Midwest for over sixteen years.  I didn’t appreciate the Southern Baptists of my upbringing for their hypocrisy and racism. I remember the Baptist Sunday School ditty: “Red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in his sight. Jesus loves the little children of the world.” I also remember the deacons of the First Baptist Church in Jackson meeting a black family at the door for services, and turning them away.

Earlier era churches supported the slaveholding planters who financed them. Latter day Southern Baptists enforced segregation, at least until plummeting membership and other political situations compelled the recent embrace of a new policy and a genuine black president. Homosexuals, however, are still branded as abominations, and will likely remain so until the religion faces more political realities of the modern world.

From the Baptist ranks of baptism at age nine, I married a Catholic woman. I listened to a dour priest explain their tenants of absolute truth while chain smoking unfiltered cigarettes, lighting one off the other.  Please, God, I said, don’t let him light another one. He lit it anyway, and continued to explain the Virgin Birth.

I couldn’t forgive the Catholics for their bloodthirsty history of oppressions, against indigenous people, against Pagans, Protestants. Some truly evil Popes had armies of their own. I could respect them more if they had ever asked for forgiveness, supposedly one of their axioms. They have never admitted any wrongdoing or guilt, never asked for forgiveness and still carry on pontiff-driven commands to procreate diligently, even in places where millions have perished from war, starvation and unsustainable families.  The pedophile scandals were additional nails for my condemnation.

I left the Evangelicals and Catholics believing that the real truth about Jesus’ mission was either largely misunderstood, or else his true values of all-one-people under a loving a compassionate Father God had been hijacked into an arena for human control. Don’t think, just ‘trust and obey,’ said a Baptist hymn. Forget your mind and the God-given free will right to use it. Follow orders, don’t drink beer, don’t seek intimate encounters with that evil sex urge of yours. It was like behavior management, as silly in its way as the Catholic’s bizarre and unworkable celibacy idea.

In 2005, I returned to the northeast Mississippi flatwoods to an environment of malaise, much still like the 1950s, except there were many more vacant buildings. The garment plant got corporatized, then moved to the Philipines. Weed, crack and Oxycontin had appeared and were spiking the crime rate among the poorer people out on the gravel roads. There were now cellphones, good for drug deals. Local merchants have given way to Sonic and Subway and two dollar store chains fighting it out. Plate lunches and fried foods are served out of gas stations.  This sanctimonious county has always disdained legal alcohol even as most Mississippi counties are wet. Beer still requires a trip to the county line stores.

Did time stand still here? Did it stagnate? Is it stupefied at the way the people have never worked together in our sordid history.

Our pioneer ancestors fought and killed the Choctaw and Chickasaw Indians. In 1831, Andrew Jackson’s federal government began forcibly evicting them in death marches to Oklahoma, taking possession of eleven million acres. Those Indians who remained were subjected to generations of harassment and brutalization until President Franklin Roosevelt’s administration gave them a tribal identity and some land where they would be safe from the white savages and have some economic opportunity.

Given that cotton was the most prized commodity on the planet, the foundation of clothes, other ancestors attacked tribes in Africa, killed, pillaged and brought black slaves here. From slave markets in the East, this ragged multitude of humans were flooded down into the Cotton Belt … the Slave Belt … the Bible Belt. From South Carolina across Texas, their population soared, people in constant degradation, suffering in chains under whip and gun. They could be killed if necessary to maintain their grievous servitude, and it would be only a property matter. It all became a culture.

It required the most ruinous war in our history to end the great sin of slavery. It then required years of battle to overturn generations of intimidating white courthouse gangs, white-sheeted terrorists, and the bane of segregation as a stacked deck for the white ruling class. Whites were still angry about the war, at GOP carpetbag corruption, lawless blacks and stooges thrust into public office. Lynchings weren’t uncommon in the South, and the perpetrators were never punished.

In time, the national Democratic Party became the champions of civil rights. At the national convention, a band of so-called Mississippi Freedom Democrats, mostly blacks, were officially seated instead of the usual white Magnolia State delegation.  It signaled a seismic political shift.

President Lyndon Johnson acknowledged that his party’s support of black equality would lose the South for years to come. It has indeed done that. Even today, Mississippians are prepared to hold their nose and vote for Republican nominee Mitt Romney this fall, even against their best interests. Their more desired candidates fell in the primaries and they are stuck with their only choice – a big business scion in bed with the banks and corporations and the powers that have turned most of the wealth of the country into the hands of a tiny portion of the population. But he is preferable to President Obama who remains black, as does the state’s Democrat power base.

Throughout the cotton belt, the black belt, the bible belt, the old and unrepentant Confederacy, the white backlash to government-mandated legal equality will continue to deliver, even to this lukewarm Republican candidate. A pawn shop dealer in Grenada told me:  “It ain’t ‘cause he’s black. It’s ‘cause he ain’t got no economic sense.”

The familiar Democratic players are still occupying the courthouses today for the most part, though some have formally switched parties, making it necessary for white backlashers in Mississippi to vote for friends in the local elections and then switch to support Republicans at the national level.

I wondered what a vastly different country this would be if we had snapped that umbilical cord of slavery before it got started. Of course, since the Constitution was fine with it, perhaps many Americans could swallow it too, accept the idea that equality is for civilized humans, and not subhuman  savages who were so startlingly different in appearance.  And like the Negroes, one does not want to forget that women had no voting rights at the time either. The imperfect Constitution has needed a plethora of amendments.

Now, into the 21st century, we have reaped many bitter whirlwinds because our forefathers chose to sustain slavery for the cotton, and allow the South to grow into world agricultural prominence upon the backs of suffering slaves.

Surely, slavery was the worse sin of all, for it had reverberated in so many ways into so many horrible and hateful conflicts over the years. Sin is not some abstract thing, not an ideology, but real flesh and blood evil.

Today, the racial divide across this state and region is still a deleterious reality. With roughly half of Mississippi’s population largely divided against itself and a resulting poverty of quality education, wealth and spirit, what business or industry would come here over the years? The cheap labor that once brought some industries into the South was later found to be even cheaper abroad, and in countries with little or no worker rights.

While the white backlash voter bloc, propelled by a GOP Southern Strategy to focus on peripheral evangelical issues, drove white business, banking and evangelicals into the party, that still hasn’t prevented it from serving the needs of the rich, trying to castrate government safeguards for working people, social security and medical care programs.  Ironically, government programs which help the poor are the largest source of income in Mississippi, yet one of the GOP’s biggest targets for elimination or privatization takeover.

The white voting majority largely resents such programs, considers themselves to be a higher class of people than the blacks and poor whites on welfare, do not think races should mix and do not want to pay any taxes beyond the barest of necessity. They see a great threat posed to America by the ‘welfare state’ and something they vacuously call ‘socialism’ and they want to stop it cold. In a biblical sense, it is the house divided that can’t stand. It only stands as the poorest state in the union by most measurements.

Clearly, returning to Mississippi with some worldly experience hadn’t softened my attitude about the region’s myopic and often venal perceptions. I could now see the desolation of souls here with a keener eye, a deeper perceptive. And when I took my own advice to go into a daily Stillness time to be quiet, pray, worship, contemplate and listen, there came to me some additional bridges of perception.

Judas was correct. Men and women who perpetuate the evils of slavery have indeed chosen a deliberate separation from God’s will in the first place. Each soul knows God’s will. And when they come to see slaves as people, replete with tears and laughter, feeling joy and pain, loving their children, goodness in their hearts, suffering in humiliation, being treated like property, one knows that they are a child of God, equal in God’s eyes, and so can only lie to themselves about it.

One has to significantly separate himself from God to participate in this evil. Our choice, as the infantile child that we are, to disdain the Golden Rule, the strong urge to goodness rising out of our soul, to blind ourselves to the reality which God has made so apparent here, is surely a sin of real consequences.

But then I was reminded by subtle and quiet spiritual voices that Jesus made a point of forgiving those workers who nailed him to the cross. As lowly laborers or slaves, they had helped crucify others in Rome’s brutal assembly line of death. And so if you are ignorant of sin, error, evil, how can you commit it? Did Judas’ confusions represent evil or error? Was his sorrow, repentance and suicide a rectification, making him more open for forgiveness?  Since Jesus’ incarnation life emphasized empathy, compassion, mercy and forgiveness among all people, can this hallmark be maintained?  Judas maintains that he has been forgiven and is now in service.

One’s intentions are vitally important.  This is the cornerstone by which our mortal lives will be judged. We are not always strong enough to fulfill our good intentions, perhaps rarely, but this is a yardstick for measuring one’s worth, and whether a person will have value to continue in God’s ascension plan.

In Mississippi, there is only the Judeo-Christian fused bible. These ideas from other books may as well be on another planet in my forlorn homeland.  The scam has worked wonderfully here. The churches largely have crafted religions which are less focused on God’s indwelling spirit and more into so-called holy books, purportedly written or every word inspired by God himself. Many protestants truly worship ‘The Word.’  And from the errant teachings of the apostle Paul, they perceive a guilt-ridden theory that Jesus was sent here to die for humanity’s sins.

The truth is, that he came here to show us how to live in God. His death was just the final human step in a profound mission of empathy for the mortal sojourners of his creation – choosing that he, too, would live, suffer and die just as we will in this mortal ascension plan. And it won’t matter. The transition is safe. The body can be killed, not the spirit, which belongs to God.

It’s not that his resurrection was miraculous. It is actually the passageway that he shows us for our personal  journey if we only accept in faith our relationship with a kind and caring fatherly God. Jesus brought an entirely new benevolent vision of God, often seen as tyrannical, even jealous and angry, during the time of his incarnation, and even today.

So if God, and son Jesus, understand and empathize with the struggles of humankind, then surely allowances are made for ignorance. But if one were a slaveholder or merchant, there is a powerful intention to evil. And if you are a pastor who portends to represent God, or Jesus, and proceeds to be deceitful in his name, that goes beyond ignorance as well. It’s one thing to disdain God’s presence and guidance; it’s worse to pretend you truly represent those highest of values when you don’t.

Ignorance is not intentional evil but can easily lead there. The truth of our intentions is known. We will stand up at some time and represent the life we lead here.

Should we live our lives largely in deprivation and ignorance, our minds still harbor intentions and our bodies act upon what our minds decide. If you’re subjected to labor driving nails into the hands and feet of people being crucified, you will weigh the survival of your enforced servitude to what you would intentionally do. One doesn’t want to die from a Roman sword and fail thereby to live and support one’s wife and child.

Should our lives be in environments that foster education and culture, I believe that more is expected of these spiritual sojourners – to utilize those talents in service to one’s fellows, to form communities for harmony and healing. To those who receive more blessings, more is expected in sharing and service.

From my readings, I have concluded that all true religion is personal – between us and spirit. A channeled celestial teacher, Rayson,  has noted that for one human to go to another human for spiritual guidance was … “baffling.” Indeed, when one can connect to spiritual guidance in times of silence and intentional release, intentional faith, intentional love and worship for the First Source, and when insights, clarities and answers can flow to you, then churches, shackled in manmade, self-serving dogma, have little vitality to you any more.

The world is undergoing a spiritual renaissance into this higher, deeper and more personal spirituality, fused together by instant communications, challenged by collapsing institutions, which have to be rebuilt with a sustainable level of spiritual values. Polarity is showing clearly the true champions and enemies of a benevolent, caring society for the first time ever and in the broadest global context. Profound challenges loom, and our intentions are everything. Our fates are in the balance.

It doesn’t seem so in these quiet Mississippi hills. The people across this rural countryside of the new Confederacy have little knowledge or interest in spiritual questions. There will be a blanket of red votes, tea party stained, all across the region where race trumps everything else, and knowledge of national and global issues is often subjugated to the simplistic Republican strategy of focusing and framing Democrats as being too submissive to blacks, immigrants, gays, welfare recipients, workers unions, women seeking abortions, trial lawyers, and more recently Muslims.  

On the other side, the Republicans become dismissive of these people blocs in confidence that the country’s Capitalist power structure, all about class and money, can outvote these people and even discredit them.  

So with this additional viewpoint, I now considered an even deeper layer of sin. There are those who prey upon sincere Christians and trick them into voting against both their economic and spiritual interests. Under their inept placeholder, George W. Bush, they looted the country, absconded with the money into foreign havens, and left President Obama with a broken nation. How bad is it to pretend an allegiance to Christianity to get votes while your political party forsakes its true principles and acts more like the money-changers and sacrificial goat sellers who got routed from the temple by Jesus.

My contempt for the self-serving rich and aspiring rich has irritated me in recent months. It bothers me that these people corrupt all of our institutions, especially those vulnerable, narrowly educated politicians we elect to office, some of them who actually want to be honorable.  It is truly a sin to intentionally corrupt people who want to be honest, and corrupt our institutions with lavish bribes and influence-peddling, especially if it’s cloaked in a hypocritical spirituality.

But can sin prevail? Isn’t the world waking up to a higher consciousness, as all my new-thought spiritual connections say? When I got beyond my self-imposed irritability about evil, I relaxed into stillness, and there came a breath of relief. As the GOP is now divided between its traditional chamber of commerce base and the manipulations of Tea Party string-pullers to gut the government and the labor unions, there is now a chasm that can’t be traversed. The ruins that W. created and that spawned the noisy tea radicals has resulted in a candidate that few people like and a divided Congress that most people hate. Big money can pour out millions but they can’t win. It will be a lesson.

The GOP developed a Southern strategy and won with it for awhile, the white backlash. Now in 2012 , they’re ironically stuck with it, anchored in the votes they will get in the new Confederate States of America, similar to Barry Goldwater, and destined to go down in defeat in most of mainstream America. Populists and Republicans don’t belong together and Romney’s mixed message of meaningless mush shows it.

We should all pay rapt attention to the amazing times we live in, the roots and core of the spiritual and societal issues being thrust before us. It is a critical time for choosing values and intentions, for each person and for each society that person lives in. Times are quickening; nations are quivering on the brink of massive social changes, admixed with environmental turmoil resulting from our poor stewardship of the planet.

Eventually, I grew tired of analyzing layers of error and evil. I left Judas to his rehabilitation and education program. Pay these things less attention and don’t dwell on them. Positive thoughts and intentions release positive energies. Connect with Spirit and state the intention of bringing more truth, beauty and goodness into the world, and into your own life, into your behavior. Ask for guidance and listen for the small and subtle voice inside you.

Ask for the Father and he will assert that he is that small voice that lives within you. Knock on Jesus’ door and he has promised to answer, no matter you be Christian or Jew or Muslim or Spiritist. We are all children of the one God. We are siblings and we have spiritual parents. Our common and noble quest is to find Oneness in God’s family of man.

We would do well to speculate less on the nature of the greatest sin and devote more time to finding the greatest possible virtue that we can achieve.


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