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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

A Wandering, Moneyless Tribe


MONEYLESS TRIBE

I'm back in Portland, camping with friends by the river. Over a month ago, unexpectedly, I left Moab, went to the Cali Bay area, ended up here.

I've actually been wandering moneyless with 3 other folks! Their names are Simon, Grace, & Jesse. We've been together for over a month, up the west coast. We are soon to part ways again and I'm going to miss them. These kids actually found me, through this blog. No blogger pals have dared carry through with hooking up moneyless with me till now.

Here's what happened. Last month my Moab friend, Val, offered to take me to Santa Cruz, Cali and back to Moab. Meanwhile, some Christians in Aussie Land made contact with me through this blog & invited me to their forum. Then they hooked me up with these 3 wandering Christian kids (Jesse, Grace, & Simon) in southern Cali who were willing to temporarily ditch their U-Haul-converted-to-an-RV, as well as all money, and travel with me to Oregon for a few weeks. Though I let them know I accept that all religions are equally valid, they still were open. Their open-ness & universalist spirit, their passion for practicing the teachings of Jesus, impressed me, so I decided to plunge in & hook up with them. They happened to be in San Jose at the same time Val offered to take me to Santa Cruz, which I took as confirmation this was meant to be. So here we are.

I've grown to love these 3 kids dearly. Their sincerity & spiritual maturity touches me to the core. I've learned much from them.

"JESUS CHRISTIANS"

They're part of a small world-wide Christian movement called "Jesus Christians". They hold to the radical idea that the teachings of Jesus are actually meant to be practiced! They observe the obvious, that what is called Christianity blatantly rejects the teachings of Jesus, reducing Christianity to a simple artificial Evangelical formula. That means they urge practicing, not just talking, New Testament teachings: giving up possessions, living by faith, living communally, being loving, open-minded. For me, this has been a test of my deep-down hunch - that if Christians actually even so much as desire to practice the basic teachings of Jesus, they can't help but see all religions as one. Giving up possessions, doing things without desire for credit, is Basic Religion 101, whether you are Christian, Taoist, Hindu, Buddhist, Muslim, Sikh, or Shamanist.

ADVENTURES WITH MY WANDERING FAMILY

I've had a few minor disagreements with the Jesus Christians. But living the lifestyle they promote is such a rare and beautiful and fragile thing, I can't knock them. Why strain at gnats and swallow camels? I encourage this movement whole-heartedly, & I feel honored I could be a part of them and continue to be a part of them.

Here's what we've done together. We left San Jose with only empty packs & each a set of clothes - no sleeping bags or blankets even. What we have needed has come when we've needed it. We mostly train-hopped up the coast from San Jose, with a bit of hitch-hiking & a lot of walking, too. We visited friends & some of their family along the way. We have done work projects. We have held a couple forums about moneyless economy on college campuses. And we even went to a mega-church carrying signs. Yup. Grace's sign said "The love of money is the root of all evil"; Simon's sign said, "Love or Money, God or Greed, what is your motivation?"; Jesse's sign said, "Love your enemies, including Iraqis & Bush"; and my sign said "Hey Christian, 'You still lack one thing, sell all your possessions & distribute to the poor' --Jesus". We were surprised at how quickly we were asked to leave. But we were eventually invited back in, as long as we left our signs outside. We had a money-burning demonstration the other day.

There's so much more we've done together & so many coincidences & blessings, but I'll save your eyes from more reading.

Grace, Simon, & Jesse are heading back to San Jose in a few days.

PORTLAND GRATITUDE

Being back in Portland has been grand. My old (and new) friends here, from tree-sitting days, and from Food Not Bombs & such, are more of my family. I'm dizzy with gratitude. It turns out I plan to go on a bicycle trip from Portland to the Rainbow Gathering with a few of my Portland family (Satya, Sarah, Vlad, & maybe others) plus my new friend, Jose, a former Jesus Christian member of Simon, Jesse, & Grace's team, who decided to join me.

Yeah, I can't describe my gratitude.

When all is gratis, all is gratitude, all is Grace. I keep saying that.

MY THOUGHTS ABOUT ALL THIS:

A MONEYLESS ECONOMY WITHOUT A SPIRITUAL BASE?

I don't see how the moneyless lifestyle, True Anarchy, can work without a spiritual base. Somebody out there who believes it can, please prove it to me. I mean try it. For example, if you don't trust in money & trade, what is there left to trust in? If you complain about the commerce system (money & every form of trade) what is your alternative to it? What or who takes care of you, who or what manages the Credit and Debt of the Universe if there is no money system to trust in? I challenge even the scientific mind to actually believe your own science. Why does Natural Selection and the balance of nature work? If you truly believe that Chance & Natural Selection evolved us from an amoeboid to a human, why are you now afraid to throw yourself into Chance? Why do you continue to side-step the laws of Natural selection by trusting money management, the control of credit and debt, which has never ever brought balance or even peace of mind? I don't give a gnats ass what you call the Law of the Universe that controls Credit and Debt outside of the money system. You simply have to have faith in that Law. Simple religion is belief in Love, whatever you call it. I don't care if you call it God, Buddha, Evolutionary Law or Yabadabadoo. The name that can be named is not the Eternal Name, Lao Tzu states. I dare say simple science in practice is faith, faith in the Law of Nature, whatever you want to call it. Work for love or work for money, either or. That simple.

32 comments:

  1. Welcome back, Suelo.

    I can see that you have advanced in your beliefs and deeds. And that this again furthers your convictions regarding Christians.

    But I am going to make some assumptions, so pardon me in advance if I have misunderstood.

    First, I assume from your statements that nearly all but a few do not practice even the basic teachings of Jesus--yet the Jesus Christians, and yourself (though you are more a universalist, than a Jesus Christian) do.

    Second, I assume also that you are saying that if you take only the basic teachings of Jesus (and I don't know exactly all that that entails) you will arrive at the same conclusion as all the other religions do--am I correct?

    If so, do you know dangerous and absurd that sounds? The first sets yourself up as judge over nearly 2000 years worth of saints, many of whom have shed their blood for the Son of Man. And the second is just a blanket statement that is soundly untrue.

    It is interesting that your physical pilgrimage does not parallel your spiritual one; your face is almost solely against Christianity--as if Christians, and they alone, are in the wrong. To me, this actually does the opposite of what your are intending; it lends credit to the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets being the truth on which the household of God is founded.

    Suelo, if you want to continue on this path, do so--it is your right to. But if its only going to be used as a boast and goad to put down other disciples, namely who you call "Evangelicals", then I caution against it, friend.

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  2. "Though I let them know I accept that all religions are equally valid, they still were open. Their open-ness & universalist spirit, their passion for practicing the teachings of Jesus, impressed me, so I decided to plunge in & hook up with them."

    Yes, Suelo, and I know that you knew that I know that you think all religions are equally valid, when we visited together last fall at the Greek Festival here in Portland. That didn't and doesn't bother me at all, and it may not have mattered to those Jesus kids either, maybe for the same reason: Religion isn't what we're doing when we're walking with Jesus, and so we needn't join in the fray of those talking about Him. If you've noticed, Jesus in his first earthly coming didn't give much heed to religion, even though He was born into the chosen people of His heavenly Father, except to fulfill the commandments, the real ones, mind you, not those man-made ones added by the scribes and pharisees in their zeal "to build a hedge around the Torah." Like our Master, Jesus, we live as though we were natural-born children in the house of their Father, and that is what we are, except for one important difference—we are not natural-born, but supernatural—and according to our Master's own words, "Unless a man is born from above [born again], he cannot see the Kingdom of God."

    "I've grown to love these 3 kids dearly. Their sincerity & spiritual maturity touches me to the core. I've learned much from them."

    What a blessing it is when brethren dwell together in unity (Psalm 133). I know how that feels, but it is a blessing that the Lord gives. We cannot add anything to it on our own, but we can drive it away from us by our hardness of heart, and by seeking our own.

    "JESUS CHRISTIANS. They're part of a small world-wide Christian movement called "Jesus Christians". They hold to the radical idea that the teachings of Jesus are actually meant to be practiced!"

    This is not a radical idea, Suelo. Followers of Jesus do this every day, whether you see them doing it or not.

    "They observe the obvious, that what is called Christianity blatantly rejects the teachings of Jesus, reducing Christianity to a simple artificial Evangelical formula. That means they urge practicing, not just talking, New Testament teachings: giving up possessions, living by faith, living communally, being loving, open-minded."

    This is nothing new, my friend. Christ Himself taught plainly and openly that His ekklisía, His "come out from among them" people, would always be like good seed planted in a field in which bad seed had also been sown by the evil one. It's not the good seed's job to root out or strangle the bad seed. That's the job of the angels who are sent at the end time. That's why Christians, when they are in fact and act following their Master Jesus do what He does: not even Jesus weeds the garden, even He has to wait for the appointed time, and let those do the weeding to whom it was given by His heavenly Father.

    "For me, this has been a test of my deep-down hunch - that if Christians actually even so much as desire to practice the basic teachings of Jesus, they can't help but see all religions as one."

    Very true, Suelo, very true! As one of those who try to follow Jesus, I can't help but see all religions as one—that every plant that our heavenly Father has not planted will be rooted up; that every shepherd who is not willing to go after the lost sheep but who instead abandons or even devours the flock will be proven to be a hired man; that all those who say to His people, 'Peace, peace' when there is no peace will be revealed for what they are, false prophets. Yes, Suelo, all religions are one, and in the end decline toward the same end.

    "Giving up possessions, doing things without desire for credit, is Basic Religion 101, whether you are Christian, Taoist, Hindu, Buddhist, Muslim, Sikh, or Shamanist."

    I agree with you. Religion's only justification for existing at all is that it hopes to fashion men and women into ideal images of visible goodness, using as a tool every worthy teaching from the beginning of the world till now. But our God, the One, is not in the business of religion or statue-making, though many who claim to speak for Him are. That's not my concern. The Living God has only one purpose in meeting us—that is to make new men out of old, to renew in us the image of His Son, to restore the image of man broken by sin, and in the end claimed by death and Hades, unless He should intervene, and we accept His offer of friendship.

    "I've had a few minor disagreements with the Jesus Christians."

    I wonder what these might be? Not things like, "where will we dine tonight, brother?" surely.

    "But living the lifestyle they promote is such a rare and beautiful and fragile thing, I can't knock them. Why strain at gnats and swallow camels?"

    Why would you knock them, Suelo? What gnat would you like to strain out? And what camel are you in danger of choking on?

    "I encourage this movement whole-heartedly, & I feel honored I could be a part of them and continue to be a part of them."

    It's always an honor to be in the company of the disciples of Jesus, if that's what they are. The hard part is being able to distinguish between the feelings of togetherness and the actual state of spiritual unity. We can give ourselves semblance of the first, but the second belongs to God alone, who grants it to His servants as He wills, for His glory.

    "We have done work projects. We have held a couple forums about moneyless economy on college campuses. And we even went to a mega-church carrying signs. Yup. Grace's sign said "The love of money is the root of all evil"; Simon's sign said, "Love or Money, God or Greed, what is your motivation?"; Jesse's sign said, "Love your enemies, including Iraqis & Bush"; and my sign said "Hey Christian, 'You still lack one thing, sell all your possessions & distribute to the poor' --Jesus". We were surprised at how quickly we were asked to leave. But we were eventually invited back in, as long as we left our signs outside."

    I wonder, Suelo, who set you up to be witnesses against them? And what would be your response, if someone came to your cave carrying a placard of implicit accusations? Have you not read, "All our righteousness is but filthy rags?" Is it for nothing that the Book of Revelation speaks against the accusers of the brethren? Who are the brethren, and who the accusers?

    "We had a money-burning demonstration the other day."

    Though I didn't believe in the use of money, if I could help someone who needed help by the twenty dollar bill (though I loathed and scorned it) in my pocket, I would rather feed my brother than offer him the ash.

    "Yeah, I can't describe my gratitude."

    Glad you had a good time, Suelo.
    May God protect you, my friend, and draw you to Jesus.

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  3. Greetings Suelo.

    I am encouraged greatly by the manner which the Lord has surrounded you with such opportunity to bathe in the riches of His grace.

    There is no denying that the Holy Spirit has enveloped you with the truth. We all have much to gain in it's becoming the core of our lives.

    Certainly your spirit has to be touched by the wisdom and great love that pilgrim and Romanos are sending as God's vessels. I pray that your journeys will merge into the Way.

    From the beginning of our crossed paths I have been at a loss for how your practical living out of the penniless life could continue if you were attached to a family or caring for widows and orphans who cannot care for themselves? How about the Apostle Paul's request for the gathering of funds for the support of those in need?
    I need clarification of your practical living out the ascetic life for all in the family of faith. Is your call not a unique one as was John the Baptists, and truly the Lord Christ? He obviously had wealthy friends and followers (Joseph of Aramethia comes to mind as does Lazarus). He does not make the primary message to them to desert their homes, but as they relish in His presence they pour out expensive ointments. Truly the value of the representative wealth of money is ephemeral at best, are we not experiencing its great vulnerability in our day? Though you shun the actual possession of money, per your blog you indirectly benefit from it frequently through others. I say this not in judgment but as a loving friend... consider all the ramifications of your philosophy. You pride yourself in being broadminded, but I see you missing the perspectives of lovingly caring for the blessed poor out of the storehouses of representative wealth. I hope you will also read this blog entry I wrote (not without thinking of you).
    http://togetheroneservant.blogspot.com/2008/04/love-is-inversion.html

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  4. Nice post, Suelo. It's a shame that most of these posters are reacting to what you have said. If so many people really ARE practising the teachings of Jesus, as one of the posters suggests, then where are they? I am sure many CLAIM to follow his teachings, but when you get down to specific commandments such as "sell everything you have and give to the poor", the excuses start rolling in (e.g. he didn't mean it for everyone)

    It's great that you have had such a good experience with these Christians. I agree with some of what the other posters were saying, and that is that it is easy to knock Christianity and imply that all other religions are right to except it.

    I agree that all religions can lead to the same path, but I don't think that all religions are teaching the same thing or emphasising the same points. However, a sincere person will probably draw the best out of any religion, and that has to include the idea of not being attached to the things of this world.

    I am greatly encouraged by your example to live without money, and I also think it is a practical solution for times to come when people will not be able to buy or sell without a microchip implant.

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  5. If a true Christian is someone who practices Jesus' teachings. Do I condemn any Christian?

    Do you want words of argument? You have the teachings & example & of Jesus written before you. They're in fact in the most published book on earth. I have nothing more to argue. In the world of words, there is nothing to defend.

    Were those signs we carried accusations or simple statements of truth from the Jesus you worship? If you see a simple statement of truth as accusatory, what does that say?

    Maybe I'm a total hypocrite. I'm not here to say weather I'm good or bad. Regardless, you have the teachings of your Jesus right in front of your eyes, and I ask you to ask yourself if you practice them, regardless of whether or not I'm a sham. Is this a good request or a bad one?

    If we practice Jesus' teachings, why is there any need to defend ourselves? Does Being need to convince anbody of anything? Is there any argument other than I am who I am?

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  6. another thing:
    If every self-proclaimed Christian practiced the teachings of Jesus and gave up all his or her possessions to the poor, would there be any more need for me to dumpster dive or live in the cracks of this system?

    How do families and orphans & widows get care in a possessionless society, as in acts 2 & 4?

    The alabastar box of expensive oil broken over Jesus' head could have been used to feed the poor, says Judas. Think about this.

    Yes, these ideas, this lifestyle, is not mine, nothing new. They are universal & ancient as the universe, no? Would I gain your approval if they were unique, my own? aren't I just a messenger, along with ravens & lilies & ants & worms? If speaking a message not my own makes me arrogant, let me be arrogant. If I came in my own name, if I defended myself and my own institution, if I called myself of Paul or apollos or Baptist or Orthodox or Christian (e.g, "of Christ"), would you accept my message?

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  7. Hopeful Pilgrim,
    I wasn't going to comment any more on this post unless, of course, someone asked me a direct question. After reading your comment, I decided that some of your statements deserved a response, out of respect for you, and out of respect for the truth. It helps me to quote the statement I am responding to, so nobody can be confused about what I am commenting on.

    "It's a shame that most of these posters are reacting to what you have said."

    Responding thoughtfully, even if challengingly, to another's thought is not reacting, but simply responding, that is, answering and perhaps opening up more room for discussion. Reacting is mindless, what chemicals and irrational animals do. Rational souls dialog, that is, engage in statement and response.

    "If so many people really ARE practising the teachings of Jesus, as one of the posters suggests, then where are they?"

    Brother, where do you expect to see them? And what I meant by "many" still has to be taken in context. Jesus Himself declared, "Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it." (Matthew 7:13-14)

    "I am sure many CLAIM to follow his teachings, but when you get down to specific commandments such as "sell everything you have and give to the poor", the excuses start rolling in (e.g. he didn't mean it for everyone)."

    Again, Jesus speaks to this discussion about those who claim to follow and those who actually follow, saying "Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash." (Matthew 7:24-27) It's really not even up to us to be looking at other people in a way that we can say such things. God alone knows the hearts of men, and He sees and knows everything we do, in secret or publicly.

    As for calling the words of Jesus to the rich young man a commandment, if you look at it honestly, you have to admit that it is not a commandment to His followers in general, but specifically to him to whom it is addressed. Notice, I am not relegating it only to the rich young man in the story, but also to him to whom it is addressed. This can be anyone, right from that first encounter with Jesus, down to the latest encounter with Him in you or me or anyone. Commandments are such things as, "Love one another as I have loved you." Christ never taught, nor did His holy Apostles ever teach, "Impoverish one another." Yet, by trying to do this, many souls throughout human history have been destroyed. If you know the truth, practice it. If this word of Jesus, "Sell all thou hast" is for you, I sincerely hope you have obeyed. If it is spoken to you by the living Christ, and you have turned away, what does that make you?

    "I agree that all religions can lead to the same path, but I don't think that all religions are teaching the same thing or emphasising the same points. However, a sincere person will probably draw the best out of any religion, and that has to include the idea of not being attached to the things of this world."

    Actually, neither you nor I have the right to say "has to include" to the followers of any religion, if we are followers of Jesus ourselves. We can only do what we see our Master doing and saying. Jesus never says that "all religions can lead to the same path," but what He does say is, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." (John 14:6) What can anyone say to that?

    "I am greatly encouraged by your example to live without money, and I also think it is a practical solution for times to come when people will not be able to buy or sell without a microchip implant."

    The world has already progressed, in some places and at some levels, to the fulfillment of the prophecy, "not able to buy or sell unless they have the mark." Living in a moneyless society may be, in fact, what Christians will have to do, when once the time has arrived that they are excluded from commercial transactions, as the prophecy states. What is not known, at least to me, is whether there will actually be any followers of Jesus on earth when this prophecy is fulfilled. I am not a prophecy scholar, and so I admit ignorance. All the talk about microchips being implanted and the rest of the "end times" speculative culture has passed me by. Whether or not Suelo's example of living moneyless will have any effect beyond his own life, other than being an acknowledged social anomaly, is debatable. But the experiment seems to fulfill his own spiritual yearnings for the time being.

    Others whom I have known to have lived a "moneyless" lifestyle have done so more quietly, secretly, unjudgmentally, helpfully, humbly and obediently. I have written about some of them in my blog, Cost of Discipleship. How could I even have found out about them, had their lives not been lived in such steadfast faith that their deeds in the world made people give praise to our heavenly Father for them (cf. Matthew 5:16), and written about them?

    With the Living God, all things have purpose and fulfillment. Our problems often arise from concentrating on ourselves and the justification of our own ideas before men, leaving God no room in our lives to enmesh with us and unfold His purposes to us, so we can truly be fulfilled.

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  8. "If a true Christian is someone who practices Jesus' teachings. Do I condemn any Christian?"

    I don't know--you seem to condemn any Christian who doesn't do what you do. And those who you seem to have trouble with also not only follow the teaching of Christ, but also the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets. This is the difference. We take the Bible as a whole unit and as progressive revelation. If you don't want to, then fine--you have the freedom to follow Jesus, or the Now Testament or whatever you want--and that means we also have that same freedom too.

    "Do you want words of argument? You have the teachings & example & of Jesus written before you. They're in fact in the most published book on earth. I have nothing more to argue. In the world of words, there is nothing to defend."

    If you don't want to discuss it, then why did you type 7 other paragraphs? Who wrote the post originally, you or us? When are people going to be responsible for what they write!?

    "Were those signs we carried accusations or simple statements of truth from the Jesus you worship? If you see a simple statement of truth as accusatory, what does that say?"

    The same can be said of you Suelo--the same can be said of you. I serve the Lord Christ Jesus, the Son of Man. And if I serve Him wrongly, may His judgment fall on me. But let it be His, and not man's, because He is merciful.

    "Maybe I'm a total hypocrite. I'm not here to say weather I'm good or bad. Regardless, you have the teachings of your Jesus right in front of your eyes, and I ask you to ask yourself if you practice them, regardless of whether or not I'm a sham. Is this a good request or a bad one?"

    Every human being is a hypocrite, Suelo--so we can get that out of the way right now. None of us called you a hypocrite, but only responded to your post, even though it was in disagreement. But the disagreement was what you said. I asked two questions, which you did not yet answer, because I wanted to make sure I heard you right.

    Whether you are a sham or not DOES matter. If a person doesn't know what they are talking about and they say wild things, why should you take to heart what they say and accept their challenge of comparison?

    I would say it is a bad request, because if what you are saying is not true, then it doesn't matter.

    "If we practice Jesus' teachings, why is there any need to defend ourselves? Does Being need to convince anbody of anything? Is there any argument other than I am who I am?"

    I don't really know what you are saying here, Suelo--but you attacked others, you sent me the email "advertising" your new post. You initiated it! If you do not want the bees to sting you, then don't rile the hive. Let them continue to labor at making the honey for others--even the Beings--though they are just worthless bees!

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  9. Suelo,
    You said, "If every self-proclaimed Christian practiced the teachings of Jesus and gave up all his or her possessions to the poor, would there be any more need for me to dumpster dive or live in the cracks of this system?"
    I have tried to imagine your idealized world. I am unable to, honestly, because I lack your perspective. If today, in your own microcosm of life, you no longer had to live your "chosen path" in the cracks, would you? If we all gave up our money and possessions (which I recognize are merely temporary tests of loyalty and stewardship), how exactly would that work itself out in your ideology?
    James wrote "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." James 1:27 NIV.
    Again, how do I care for my family, my widowed mother, and contribute to the other poor without a job that is rewarded with the wages that are the means to fulfill this call? All though his letter to the twelve scattered tribes James, like you, shames the insensitive rich, but he also confirms your opportunity for strong faith:"Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him?" (2:5)
    There can be pride in poverty as well as in wealth. Whatever one boasts in above Christ is vanity. Paul had experienced both extremes and had learned contentment in both extremes. Note his advice to his prodigy Timothy: "17Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. 18Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. 19In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life." 1 Timothy 6 NIV

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  10. Ephesians 2

    8For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9not by works, so that no one can boast. 10For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

    Don't boast. You'll get nowhere.

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  11. Yes, this is the dilema, & I must constantly ask myself: am I boasting?

    Perhaps Paul Revere was blowing his own horn to warn others the Brits were coming. Perhaps he was trying to get attention for himself.

    There's a time for quietness & retreat, & a time for blowing trumpets. Either way, Wisdom is justified of Her children.

    Speculate about my motives, but meanwhile, this country & world is in crisis, & we gotta shake our materialistic drunk & do something.

    To Randy's question: is it possible for us to follow Jesus' teachings & have a family & care for orphans & widows? I say it is impossible for us to do the Divine Will - if we are not open to it. If we have already talked ourselves out of the possibility that Jesus' teachings are practical, because, by all human logic they are impossible, then of course they will be impossible. This is my challenge to all of us, myself included: is good possible without serving money? We are servants to who-ever we can't live without. If I can't live without dependence on money, who am I a servant to? Does money serve us or do we serve money?

    Also, Randy, I ask, if wealthy people followed Paul's advice to them, would they still be wealthy?

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  12. "To Randy's question: is it possible for us to follow Jesus' teachings & have a family & care for orphans & widows?"

    Suelo, can't you ever directly answer anyone's direct question? The following response is not an answer, it's simply you preaching your philosophy again, "I say it is impossible for us to do the Divine Will - if we are not open to it," and so forth.

    "If we have already talked ourselves out of the possibility that Jesus' teachings are practical, because, by all human logic they are impossible, then of course they will be impossible. This is my challenge to all of us, myself included: is good possible without serving money?"

    Using money is not necessarily serving it, Suelo. I hate to quote scripture to a biblical scholar like yourself, but have you never read this saying of Jesus, "And so I tell you this: use money, tainted as it is, to win you friends, and thus make sure that when it fails you, they will welcome you into the tents of eternity." (Luke 16:9 Jerusalem Bible)

    "We are servants to who-ever we can't live without."

    Can you live without food, Suelo? No? Then you are a slave to it. Can you live without water, Suelo? No? Then, you are a slave to it. Can you live without air, Suelo? No? Then you are a slave to it. Can you live without emptying your bowels and bladder, Suelo? No? Then you are a slave to them. Can you live without sexual activity, Suelo? No? Then, you are a slave to it. Can you live without sleep, Suelo? No? Then you are a slave to it. Can you live without thinking, Suelo? No? Then you are a slave to it. Can you live without dying, Suelo? No? Then you are a slave to it.

    I admit, Suelo, that you may be able to live without money, but I doubt it. Just because you refuse to handle money and put yourself on a pedestal above the rest of corrupt humanity, does not really mean you can live without money. If you lived only in your cave in Moab, drinking water only from the stream, eating only wild foods that you could find in the wilderness, clothing yourself only in natural materials gleaned from the bush, and sleeping on heather you gathered on the hills, then maybe I could agree that you lived without money. But aside from the outward and very nominal rejection of literal money as a means of exchange, your lifestyle is based even more on the money economy than most. You depend on the leftovers of moneyed society for your sustenance, you haunt the houses of your moneyed acquaintances as a house-sitter and maybe more, you essentially bite the hand that feeds you.

    I love you, brother, and I mean it, but this nonsense that you are pushing is not a strength, but a vainglorious attempt to make yourself a sign to the nations, comparing yourself to Jesus and the holy prophets. Your disrespectful trafficking with the Word of God, and your childish attacks on people and religions that you did not create and have no power to change, to judge or to destroy, are the only sign that you are becoming, and that is not a sign of God's righteousness, but a sign of His abandonment of the children of wrath, those who refuse to acknowledge Him, and whom He has therefore left to their own irrational ideas and their monstrous behavior.

    "If I can't live without dependence on money, who am I a servant to? Does money serve us or do we serve money?"

    You have lost the power of reason, Suelo, and no longer understand even the basic meaning of words like "dependence." You have sacrificed even your God-given reason to your own bent ideology.

    "Also, Randy, I ask, if wealthy people followed Paul's advice to them, would they still be wealthy?"

    What advice of apostle Paul are you referring to? Is it this verse? "We gave you a rule when we were with you: not to let anyone have any food if he refused to do any work. Now we hear that there are some of you who are living in idleness, doing no work themselves but interfering with everyone else's."
    (2 Thessalonians 3:10-11)

    Or is it this verse? "Warn those who are rich in this world's goods that they are not to look down on other people; and not to set their hopes on money, which is untrustworthy, but on God who, out of His riches, gives us all that we need for our happiness. Tell them that they are to do good, and be rich in good works, to be generous and willing to share—this is the way they can save up a good capital sum for the future if they want to make sure of the only life that is real."
    (1 Timothy 6:17-19)

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  13. Whoa Romanos!

    It's fine if you haven't read stuff in this blog, but I somehow thought you'd read how many times I repeated in this blog that I do not believe money or its use is evil, or that people who use it are wrong. Why are you & others taking simple statements as attacks? Why do you assume that I put myself on a pedestal above everyone else, simply by questioning the money system & considering alternatives to it. Don't you observe the same, that that most of what is called the Church, just as most of what was called Judaism in the prophets' & Jesus' days, was enslaved to Mammon, sold into idolatry of greed? Which prophet did not denounce idolatry & greed, and which prophet was NOT considered arrogant & boastful & heretical & setting himself above others?

    Another thing I have said in this blog is that money is synonymous with law, credit & debt management. Money is a necessary schoolteacher, like gold stars for students. But it's not Grace, and something we gotta move beyond, but it is not evil. It is evil to us if we serve it. It is good to us if it serves us.

    Yes, I dare compare myself to Jesus, and to Paul, and to the prophets. Don't you? All of them command us to be like them, imitate them, take their example. Are you bearing witness that Jesus & the prophets are not living examples but simply icons to worship? Simply reduced to idols?

    That aside, you have spoken something very wise, & bring up points making me think. Yes, my physical body is dependent upon food, air, clothing, etc. My physical body is also a possession. According to the Bible, flesh & blood can't enter the Kingdom of God. Last time I simply quoted that, I was accused of being a Gnostic (as if that were an evil thing). The body is not me, but a vehicle I ride in. This is the whole point of the Crucifixion, that all possessions must be given up, given to God, right down to the body. This body is not me, not mine. I am still realizing this, still haven't given up all possessions, still haven't given up all money.

    But I will not equate food & clothing & air, etc with money - Food is a physically tangible substance. Money is simply a belief. Money does not exist in the physical realm. Nobody depends on money. We think we do. People are upset with money burning, taking it to mean hostility & hatred. Why? Because it is real to them. This is why some of us believe it is sometimes necessary to burn it, not out of hostility, but to bring the venom of belief to the surface, which you are demonstrating quite beautifully. Other than a simple piece of paper, was even a single item of worth destroyed on earth? Is the worth of something in what it IS or is it in a belief about it? Sometimes it is necessary to destroy a Bronze Serpent, when it becomes an idol, a thing of value more than reality. Orthodox icons are good, but it might be necessary one day for an Orthodox prophet to burn one & be thrown out of the church for doing so.

    I know you don't like questions, but clear-cut answers, but I have to say, is a bird who nests in an attic or a barnacle that rides on a ship dependent on money? What is money?

    Should all of the prophets been quiet & acquiesced to authorities to avoid religious venom? Should Jesus not have made a stir with his whip? He could have avoided the cross & been another saint in a monastery. Such arrogance?

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  14. You like to pose questions, Suelo, but you are loathe to answer them. Go in peace, brother.

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  15. When two (or more) people argue, both sides are wrong. When two people argue, neither is interested in learning new truth from the other but in being right. This is not a discussion but an argument, and futile, so I confess my part in arguing and I back out. If both sides had truth as the goal, both would come to agreement, always, always, always. And there would be love and no condescension to the other. May love prevail. Nothing else matters. Nothing.

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  16. "When two (or more) people argue, both sides are wrong. When two people argue, neither is interested in learning new truth from the other but in being right. This is not a discussion but an argument, and futile, so I confess my part in arguing and I back out. If both sides had truth as the goal, both would come to agreement, always, always, always. And there would be love and no condescension to the other. May love prevail. Nothing else matters. Nothing."

    No Suelo--not both parties are wrong. You know why this cannot be? Because one day, and I pray soon, the living Christ will judge mankind. And He will determine, in all points; large and minute, who was speaking the truth and who was not. And since in this day in age, people cannot reason and argue points to determine truth, via logic, every falsehood becomes truth--and therefore we know that judgment is at hand.

    What can I say to you, Suelo, that you would determine to hear? Your truth is one where everyone agrees with you, just like you revealed in the quote above. You even admit in that quote that you did not have the truth in mind! So you prove my point for me, you agree that your original post was not speaking the truth about Christians. But I believe that what I have placed my faith in is the Truth; I am willing to stand on that, even as arrogant as that sounds! I did not make up the Good News, but it was revealed to my heart by the conviction of the Holy Spirit and I made a decision to believe. Call me a hypocrite, call me an Evangelical, call me a non-Christian because I am not a Jesus Christian--call me whatever you like--The Truth is Christ, and He is revealed in the Scriptures. I want to speak only that Truth!

    This is my last comment on your blog Suelo. I will end with this--and it is totally off subject--yesterday when I journeyed to Multnomah Falls to test out my new digital camera and steadicam, I met a young woman, Rae, who wants to do a documentary about creating a moneyless society. She wants to market it for free, give it away for free--everything free. And see wants a filmmaker to do it for her. The irony of all this is that I just spent over $3000 for this new system, paid with MONEY, and the first person I meet who wants to do a film, wants a filmmaker to do if for free. We exchanged cards and then I told her about you, how you have lived moneyless for nearly 8 years and about your various exploits. She was very interested. And so I gave her your info. I am assuming, though I could be very wrong, that she wants to live moneyless next. I mean, how can you have a moneyless society unless you make the choice to do it first yourself, right? So, she may contact you. She runs a free woman's clothing swap @ www.pdxswap.com. Maybe you can contact her there if she does not contact you.

    See Suelo--I'm truly ecumenical :)--even those whom I consider wrong in their views, I try to connect. If I cannot win someone by the Good News, that Christ is risen and has provided a way of salvation, free to all who accept it, then at least I can send them on down the path they have chosen by connecting them with fellow idealists. You all want everything free, and yet the free offer of salvation through the sacrifice of Christ--which could not be bought with money, either His sacrifice or a person's salvation--is not good enough.

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  17. thanks for such an interesting post, Suelo. As a non-christian, all this hair splitting and scripture-quoting that the christians are doing here just continues to push me away from christian thought and belief. I'm shocked at how they've skipped over how you're living and just want to chastise your writings. Bleech, as far as christianity goes, count me out.

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  18. Anonymous. All I've shared with Seulo was bathed in prayer and love. It's a shame that you miss that. As Seulo said, it's all about the LOVE. No other Way is of Love, as is the way of Christ. You miss that, you miss life.

    Seulo. I still inquire as to the practical answer (our God is not w/o plans and answers) to the ramifications of caring for others in our society and age on a large scale without money. We agree wholeheartedly to the need for sharing for the good of all.

    Thanks for your thoughts.

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  19. There is too much argument in this thread & few have the patience or time to glean the true questions & comments from the barage. I am houseless & use public computers, getting only 1/2 to 1 hour every few days, so time & ability to answer everything is humanly impossible.

    Now I'm at a friends' computer, so a bit more time.

    I don't think Randy is trying to flatter. I have sensed a spirit of true dialogue coming out in Randy's comments from the beginning, before this blog entry.

    anybody can search for fault & boasting in me and find it in order to discount the true message coming through me.

    That said, these are observations on love. We are here to love our neighbor as ourself, nothing more. Back in my social work days, it dawned on me that, in this money system, we "love" everybody but our neighbors! We "love" populations in mass, throwing dollars overseas, "out there" to the poor somewhere, into programs, then we return to our suburbian shells, not even knowing what our neighbor looks like, much less her name, much less her needs. I used to be exhausted from "helping" people at homeless shelters all day, then sending my little moneys away to save the children, and after work, when my neighbor came knocking or a street person would talk to me, I'd tell them I was too tired. We feel "absolved" from picking up hitchhikers or talking to bums or next-door neighbors, because we already paid our dues, as if love can be paid for. We think we can buy love. In other words, we think we can buy salvation, when it is by grace.

    as is our salvation, so is our walk. If we are saved by grace, we walk by grace, through faith. as we cannot pay for our own salvation, so we cannot pay for our walk, we cannot pay for love, we cannot pay for anything. The deluded thinks he is the doer, the Baghavad Gita states. It is Christ who works through us, Paul states. Jesus himself states he does nothing of himself, but the Father is the doer. Everything Jesus teaches is about walking not by our own work or our own calculations or our own programs, but by faith! It is not we who work, but God through us. This is the message of the entire scripture, Old & New Testament. This is the gospel, as your scriptures call it in the Four Gospels. There is no other Gospel. Is it being preached? Is there faith in the world?

    "Money I do not have, but what I have I give to you." (--Peter, acts 3:6)

    This shouldn't be a radical idea, but in our deluded world it is.

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  20. Seulo.

    You have spoken much truth here.
    I have walked much of your journey expressed here. I see your frustration and sense of futility with government and institutional "charities".

    1st, I would rejoice that God uses broken vessels of every type to accomplish His purposes. I am no better than those limping institutions. When God does a work through me (you were so right here) it is through the brokenness of the cross. I am a selfish and proud being. I pray that God would use me, too, to be His hands, feet and wallet in this world.

    Funny, as I read the admonitions of my family here (yours included), I did not see them as harsh or only for you; I felt a spiritual provocation for my own repentance (turning) toward involvement in sacrifice.

    I pray that you would be well and continue to find ways to fill the heavenly coffers with the glories of loving acts, to the praise of our creator.

    Randy

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  21. This is all too funny. Christians...Christianity...such a strange thing, such a muddled, confused, ball of shit.

    Sueolo, what you are experiencing in these comments, is in a smaller way, exactly what Jesus went through. "Pilgrim", "Randy Hurst" and "Guy who for some reason writes his name in Greek" are the Pharisees, criticizing you, nit picking at silly stupid shit while no doubt having twenty foot 2x10's sticking out of their eyballs. At least if we go by what Jesus actually taught.

    Man, I don't know what else to say.

    Here's hoping that Christianity, and for that matter every other religion, dies and all remnants of it (I believe there is some truth in most religions, but most of it, and the very idea of religion itself are harmful and false) are erased from our consciousness. So maybe future generations have a better shot at figuring out "what the fuck is going?"

    Take care Suelo,

    Oh and Jesus worshipers: Get fucking real.

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  22. "Regarding the rest of mankind, you should pray for them unceasingly, for we can always hope that repentance may enable them to find their way to God. Give them a chance to learn from you, or at all events from the way you act. Meet their animosity with mildness, their high words with humility, and their abuse with your prayers. But stand firm against their errors, and if they grow violent, be gentle instead of wanting to pay them back in their own coin. Let us show by our forbearance that we are their brothers, and try to imitate the Lord by seeing which of us can put up with the most ill-usage or privation or contempt—so that in this way none of the devil's noxious weeds may take root among you, but you may rest in Jesus Christ in all sanctity and discipline of body and soul."
    —Ignatius of Antioch, Epistle to the Ephesians, ch. 10

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  23. Resolved, To act, in all respects, both speaking and doing, as if nobody had been so vile as I, and as if I had committed the same sins, or had the same infirmities or failings, as others, and that I will let the knowledge of their failings promote nothing but shame in myself, and prove only an occasion of my confessing my own sins and misery to God. - Jonathan Edwards

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  24. Yes, loving my neighbor as my own self and loving my enemy: are they different things? Is there any enemy greater than my own self? Is there any task, any reconciliation, greater than loving this enemy? Who dares truly look in the mirror?

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  25. Hey Suelo (this be G),
    I just read the comments on this post for the first time. Dang, did it get out of hand! :) It really does remaind me of what I (as a Jesus Christian) face every day out there talking to people on the streets. I remember we talked about that. I think your lifestyle in itself is a witness and a cause for reaction in many people.

    I don't want to comment too much on what is written here, because all of you are lightyears ahead of me intellectually. I just say that I back up what Suelo says. lol

    And it is too bad to see the fruit of the arguements of the "Christian" factions. People on the outside of the churches can see right through it (e.g. Leaven)! I don't blame them, really, even though I come from a background that is rooted very much in the popular institutional church. But can any churchgoer truly say that their church (of the "normal" common variety) reflects that of the Christians in Acts or reflects an obedience to Jesus' teachings? I think that is all Suelo is getting at.

    I absolutely do not think that Suelo or the Jesus Christians are the only Christians who have it right, or even that we have right at all. I just think it takes a little sincerity to question ourselves and the traditions we have been taught.

    Okay, so I did end up writing a response to what was written. I hope it doesn't stir up too much controversy.

    Much love to you Suelo and thanks for such a nice blog post about our lovely adventure. I think back about our journey together a lot (especially when Jesse and I see trains!!).

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  26. OMGGG FINALLYY WHAT I BEEN LOKING FOR!!!!

    i been suporting this idea for the longest time!!!!!

    How can i get a hold of these people?? sorry im new here!!!

    ADD ME ON MSN OR AIM MSN- metal_devastation0019@hotmail.com

    AIM- eduardo0019

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  27. Hey, eduardo -
    You can contact the JCs through their website:
    www.jesus-teachings.com
    I myself am not a member - I just traveled with them.

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  28. hello Daniel, my name is Asia Hwan, I am currently on the road to giving up money. I just recently had the revelation that i can reach bliss if i never use money..and if i can get the whole world to think that too. I would really love to talk with you, if you could please contact me my email is asiavictoria@hotmail.com i am 22, i live in sf, and i really think i can do this. please contact me!
    thanks
    asia

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  29. As how he traveled to the lower 48 Someone had to give him a ticket, Someone had to write it up, Someone had to build the plane, Someone had to fly it, and make sure things were safe on the plane, Someone had to get fuel for the plane and on it as well as fix it from time to time.

    As for the trains, Someone had to build the tracks and repair them. Mine the things and build the trains, Drill the fuel to get the trains running and deliver it. Drive and conduct on the railroad, as well as dispatch so there would be no wrecks. Hook the trains up as they went from point a to b to get what they needed.

    Thing is someone has to work so we can have what we need and some people are more skillful in one thing than another so they find a skill and develop talents in it and society pays them for it. Money is a standard for how our daily labor is valued.

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  30. Someone had to build the plane you rode on as well as fly it, put fuel on it and make sure things were safe for passengers on it. As well as get a ticket to fly on it to reward the people who helped you on it.

    Someone had to drill and mine for the fuel and materials to build the planes and trains, hook them up drive them transport the fuel, and dispatch so no wrecks would happen. Thing is labor is necessary for human survival one person has skills in one field that another doesn't and money is a symbol of labor for what someone else does you don't have skills in, and what people give you that they don't have skills in.

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    1. See the FAQ
      Yours is maybe the most frequent comment.

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