Writing a blog is a little bit like opening the door to my study and let you peek into my life while it is happening. This time I am opening the door to my kitchen and let you peek into it while we set the table, cook a variety of foods and prepare for a special guest: Ron Radford.
This extraordinary musician and most of all most extraordinary individual is on tour in Europe. He came to Berlin with his Flamenco guitar for a charity concert on behalf of the Roger McGowen Fund, supporting an innocent man in a US prison who is serving a life sentence without reason and who has been rising to such a level of forgiveness and unselfishness that it even blesses those outside the prison walls. This life story is worthy of our full attention and it does have our family attention since we joined Pierre Pradervand and others in their prayerful stance for justice, human rights, and a divine forgiveness that comes only through blessing others. Pierre Pradervand's book Messages of Life from Death Row is an extraordinary, moving read. You can find it in any bookstore close by. Pierre Pradervand, Ron Radford, and many others are active and up and about every day, paying for legal fees, doing fundraising, speaking to Roger every day, taking a practical stand for Truth in the most modest and moving way.
While sitting at lunch, we exchanged ideas - divine ideas, free ideas, grand ideas.
Like the Platinum Rule. Ron Radford explained that he thought that there is an upgrade to the Golden Rule, namely the Platinum Rule. The Golden Rule is the principle of treating others as one would wish to be treated. In many religions and cultures this rule is present, of course. And it is a wonderful, powerful rule, because it shows that everything in life is linked to each other. Our fates are linked to each other in such a way, that we cannot expect f.e. a happy life if we don't actively work for the happiness of others as well; we cannot expect fair treatment if we don't give others fair treatment; we cannot expect to meet with honesty when we withhold a portion of truth from ourselves or others.
Now here comes the upgrade: While the Golden Rule teaches to treat others as one would wish to be treated, the Platinum Rule teaches to treat others as they would wish to be treated. There is no element of selfishness left, not even the tiniest rest. Just the pure desire that others might be treated in the best possible way without expecting anything in return. Expectancy to receive anything in return even undermines the power of the Platinum Rule.
When we spoke about the Platinum Rule, I brought Christ Jesus into the room. I had noticed during my Bible study, that he himself introduces an upgrade, too. This is what I mean: Jesus has just washed his disciples feet, Judas just left the dinner table to betray "the best man that ever trode the globe " (Mary Baker Eddy, Science and Health, p. 52) and Jesus starts a final thorough teaching which includes this statement:
"So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” (John 13: 34,35)
The old commandment would have been the Golden Rule, but the new commandment is a love that is unselfish and kind, that washes feet and forgives, the Christ love, that is more like an endless stream than a social contract. More like a gift than the momentary quiet that comes from knowing that one is doing the right thing. The Platinum Rule.
As you contemplate this new insight, I invite you to spend your next break with Ron Radford as he shares with you not only wisdom and spirituality, but also his fabulous guitar playing. Find him on his website, too:
I continue to be in the "Luther mode", discovering more insights and ideas of his that move me forward as I go along. This is my most recent insight, another wonderful quote by Luther:
"Joy is the graduation cap of faith."
"Die Freude ist der Doktorhut des Glaubens."
In German there is an inbuilt pithy humor within this saying, but in English you get the idea as well. Those, who dedicate their lives to the matters of Spirit, and truly do so, grow out of a sense of burden, out of the stress and strain of daily life, and eventually graduate as joy permeates the heart. Joy is the signature of everyone truly spiritually-minded, it is the sign of an active group of people serving a higher purpose than their own, it is the key feature of unselfishness.
There is a list of qualities that define the result of Spirit in our experience. Paul writes in his epistle to various groups of Christians in Galatia (fun fact: Today a region in Turkey around Ankara, the capital):
"But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!" (Gal. 5: 22, 23. NLT)
Right after love, the second on the list, comes joy. The state of being happy! I observe, that individuals who know something about God and have stepped into the world of unselfishness and spiritual observation, have a certain warmth and glow about them. It is not the joy the stems from well-being, success, or good fortune. It is more than an emotion or feeling. There is no room for doubt or fear left in a heart which feels the presence of Spirit.
There is little space for the story of desperation, which excludes the allness and onliness of Spirit. So if joy doesn't stem from well-being, success, or good fortune, we can now safely say that it stems from spiritual well-being, success, and good fortune - the good life which is the result of divine Love and filled with the yearning for the prospect of seeing more of Spirit in our and everyone's experience.
If the question of "graduation" comes up, we will get the question what subject we are graduating in. What is the content of faith? What is the doctrine? Here is an answer from Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy:
"This is the doctrine of Christian Science: that divine Love cannot be deprived of its manifestation, or object; that joy cannot be turned into
sorrow, for sorrow is not the master of joy; that good can never produce evil; that matter can never produce mind nor life result in death." (p. 304)
Can you accept this doctrine? And graduate in the faith? And come up with your own test system, whether you understood it enough to graduate? Is there enough joy in your heart to throw it around like confetti? Joy is the standard, and once you have graduated, you will never unlearn it.
"Joy is the graduation cap of faith!" It is looking pretty good on you.
(You can find the previous posts on "What is joy?" by using the search box on my website. Simple.)
Who is writing?
In my work as Christian Science practitioner and writer I draw on listening to God and listening to people.
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