Thursday, December 13, 2018

Which god?



The “G-word” is everywhere today. People from very different religions, no religions, and atheists use it every day – as if they are all talking about the same god. Even people that self-identify with the same religion aren’t always talking about the same god. How important is it for us to know which god we are talking about?

If someone said, “Do you want food?”; would you ask “What kind of food?”

How about if your doctor called and said, “You need an operation.” Would you ask, “What kind of operation?”

Based on the impact the “G-word” has on our lives today in America, doesn’t that make knowing which is very important? But when people use the “G-word,” most people never ask, “Which god?” – not even professional reporters that work for large media corporations, newspapers and magazines!

Christianity, Judaism and Islam are monotheistic religions that teach that there is only one god -- but their memes about their “God” are very different. Jewish and Christian Scriptures contain stories about multiple gods – and a god named “God” isn’t one of them.

So, when the “G-word” comes up in a conversation, ask a couple of basic questions, beginning with these:

1. Which god?

2. What is the name of the god?

Two short questions create transparency and transform “G-word” conversations into opportunities forConsciously Co-Creating Better & Safer Realities.”  
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Wednesday, November 28, 2018

God Did Not Command Men to Rule Over Women or Curse Them


This is the fourth and final part of the “What Happened in a Garden in Eden” discussion between Rabbi Jeffrey Leynor and Jim Myers. This video is about the first demonstration of divine justice. God does not curse the man and woman and neither does he “punish the woman by telling her the man will rule over her.” This account reaffirms the establishment of gender equality in all things that the first creation account revealed. If you have a daughter, be sure she understands the wisdom principles of this account.

This video covers Genesis 3:8 to 3:23 (26:11 minutes). This video was originally part of a Facebook Live broadcast and it is posted on Facebook. You do not have to be a Facebook member or sign into Facebook to view it. When you click on the link below, if a "Sign Up" screen pops up, just click on the "Not Now" option to immediately view the video. We hope you will find the video entertaining and informative.

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Two Humans vs a Walking Talking Religious Snake Part 2

This is the third part of the “What Happened in a Garden in Eden” discussion between Rabbi Jeffrey Leynor and Jim Myers. This video contains the discussion between the serpent and the two humans. This is the first account of the power of persuasion in the Bible. It is also the first opportunity for one human to protect another human.

This video covers Genesis 3:1b to 3:7b (11:41 minutes). This video was originally part of a Facebook Live broadcast and it is posted on Facebook. You do not have to be a Facebook member or sign into Facebook to view it. When you click on the link below, if a "Sign Up" screen pops up, just click on the "Not Now" option to immediately view the video. We hope you will find the video entertaining and informative.
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Two Humans vs. a Walking Talking Religious Snake


This is the second part of the “What Happened in a Garden in Eden” discussion between Rabbi Jeffrey Leynor and Jim Myers. In this video, God decides the man by himself is not “TOV,” so God decides to create a mate for him. The first thing God creates to fill that role is a wild predatory animal! What was God thinking?

This sets the stage for one of the most important events in the Scriptures of Judaism and Christianity. As a matter of fact, the Garden of Eden story was reinterpreted by Augustine in the 5th century CE and his new interpretation laid the theological foundation upon which modern Christianity now stands.

The verses discussed in this video set up the first confrontation in the Bible -- “Two Humans vs. a Walking Talking Religious Snake.” The questions raised in the minds of the ancient Hebrew audience were these:

Will the two humans act together and be “the image of God”?

Or will the two humans act as individuals and be “images of a wild predatory animal”?

This video covers Genesis 2:18 to 3:1a (16:36 minutes). This video was originally part of a Facebook Live broadcast and it is posted on Facebook. You do not have to be a Facebook member or sign into Facebook to view it. When you click on the link below, if a "Sign Up" screen pops up, just click on the "Not Now" option to immediately view the video. We hope you will find the video entertaining and informative.
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Tuesday, November 27, 2018

What Happened in a Garden in Eden Part 1


This is the first part of the “What Happened in a Garden in Eden” discussion between Rabbi Jeffrey Leynor and Jim Myers. Their linguistic approach to Bible study allows the ancient Hebrew text to tell its own story – and its story is very different from the stories that have been told by religious institutions. This video covers Genesis 2:4b to 2:17 (19:36 minutes).

This video was originally part of a Facebook Live broadcast and it is posted on Facebook. You do not have to be a Facebook member or sign into Facebook to view it. When you click on the link below, if a "Sign Up" screen pops up, just click on the "Not Now" option to immediately view the video. We hope you will find the video entertaining and informative.
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Sunday, November 25, 2018

What do God’s image, having sex and filling the earth have in common?


What is the first thing on the Creator’s list of human empowerments? – “Have sex!” And the second is “fill the earth,” which means a lot more than “making babies.” A lot of people treat sex as a “recreational activity” today, but “filling the earth” is a very serious responsibility for the people that “make a baby.” This is the second video of the “Humans from the Creator’s Perspective.



Friday, November 23, 2018

Humans from the Creator’s Perspective Part 1


Rabbi Jeffrey Leynor and Jim Myers discuss humans from the Creator’s perspective. Genesis 1 provides a view of humans from the Creator's perspective. It reveals what they are empowered to do. You probably know humans are "created in the image of God" but did you know they are created with a soul that's like the soul of animals? As a matter of fact, did you know other creatures were created with souls too? This is the first of five videos on humans from the Creator's perspective and they should be great conversation starters too.
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Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Martin Luther On the Jews and Their Lies


In his 1523 Luther argued that there was no reason for Jews not to convert en masse. They suggested that perhaps Luther might convert to Judaism. In 1543 Luther published “On the Jews and Their Lies” – “Burn down their synagogues . . . force them to work, deal harshly with them . . . .” Adolph Hitler clearly agreed with Luther. Read the complete blog at -- https://biblicalheritagecenter.blogspot.com/2018/11/martin-luther-on-jews-and-their-lies.html

What Existed Before God Began Creating the Heaven and the Earth?

Rabbi Jeffrey Leynor and Jim Myers talk more about their journey and one of the early shocking discoveries that challenged their BS (Belief Systems)
https://lives1st.blogspot.com/2018/11/what-existed-before-god-began-creating.html

Sunday, November 18, 2018

The Image of God


In the image of God” is a central belief of Christianity and Judaism. But what does “humans being created in the image of God” mean to groups that have very different beliefs about “who” that God is? Does the ancient Hebrew text support the Jewish or Christian view? Listen to Rabbi Jeffrey Leynor and Jim Myers as they allow the ancient Hebrew text answer those questions in two short videos.

The videos were originally Facebook Live broadcasts and they are posted on Facebook, but you do not have to be a Facebook member or sign in to Facebook to view them. When you click on the links below, if a "Sign Up" screen pops up, just click on the "Not Now" option to view the video.


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Friday, November 16, 2018

The Mystery of the Seventh Day


The Seventh Day of Creation reveals a mystery that very few people have ever heard. It received the Third Blessing of the Creator, a blessing that is not recorded in the Hebrew text. The first two blessings were for creatures with living souls. The blessings empower those creatures to fulfill the words of the blessings in their lives. However, in light of the first two blessings, the third raises some very important questions.

(1) Does the Seventh Day have a living soul too?

(2) What did the third blessing empower the Seventh Day to do?

(3) What relationship does the Seventh Day have to humans?

Listen to Rabbi Jeffrey Leynor and Jim Myers discuss the Mystery of the Seventh Day on the two short videos that were broadcast on Facebook Live.

The videos are posted on Facebook, but you do not have to be a Facebook member or sign in to Facebook to view them. When you click on the links below, if a "Sign Up" screen will pop up, just click on the "Not Now" option to view the video.


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Thursday, November 15, 2018

Watch Rabbi Jeffrey Leynor and Jim Myers discuss their journey.


Rabbi Jeffrey Leynor and former pastor Jim Myers have been on a journey together for over a quarter of a century now. They talked about how two guys with mutually exclusive monotheistic belief systems brought transparency to their discussions learned to cooperate instead of argue about their belief conflicts. Watch their entertaining and informative discussion at https://www.facebook.com/100011127369862/videos/710682599312646/?l=5085125354997611633

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Rabbi Jeffrey Leynor and Jim Myers Live of Facebook


Rabbi Leynor and I will be on Facebook Live in the morning November 15th about 11:15 am. We will be discussing the Garden in Eden and its gold mine of wisdom principles. Links to videos will be posted later.By the way, the Hebrew text doesn't say "the man shall rule over the woman." “Like” our “Lives 1st Facebook Page” to receive notifications of when we are live on Facebook -- https://www.facebook.com/lives1st/

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Two Guys with Mutually Exclusive Monotheistic Belief Systems Learn How to Be Transparent and Cooperate


When Rabbi Leynor and I (Jim Myers) met, we never dreamed we were beginning the journey that has now lasted over a quarter of a century -- or that we would now be talking about realities, genes and memes. It is unbelievable that the most important things we now know about realities, genes and meme were not discovered until the 21st century. Our focus back then was on understanding belief systems and searching for ancient meanings of the Hebrew and Greek words of our Scriptures.

I had been engaged in research about the Jewish Jesus for about six years before I met Jeffrey. During that time I created two guidelines that helped me stay on track in my work and help members of my Bible study groups resolve conflicts that often involved differences in beliefs.

Belief Systems Guideline

My Belief System will be large enough to include all of the Facts, it will be open enough to be examined and questioned, and it will be flexible enough to change if errors or new facts are discovered.

Linguistic Guideline

A word or phrase consists of symbols or sounds with an attached bundle which is a product of the Source’s culture, time period, geographical location and personal experiences.

We did not realize it back then, but the above guidelines brought transparency to our discussions. Today we know that transparency is an essential requirement for cooperation and cooperation is an essential requirement for maintaining a healthy democracy.

One of our primary goals today at the TOV Center is teach as many people as possible the skills we learned about creating cooperation.

Two Guys with Mutually Exclusive Monotheistic Belief Systems

When Jeffrey and I first met, we both had congregations. He was a rabbi of a Conservative synagogue and I was pastor of a Protestant church. We both had mutually exclusive monotheistic belief systems. We both believed that only one God exists, but we didn’t agree on who that God was.

In Jewish belief systems, Yahweh is that God, but in Christian belief systems the Trinity and/or Jesus is that God. In Jeffrey’s religion Jesus cannot be God, while in my religion Jesus must be God. This is where the “mutually exclusive” part of our belief systems plays a major role. Unless one believes “the official version of the religion’s God” – that person cannot be a member of the religion.  

Without having agreed to follow the Belief Systems Guideline above, we would not have been able to engage in the transparent discussions that we have had from the beginning. By agreeing to follow the guideline, “we gave each other permission to examine and question each other’s beliefs.”

We always respected each other and treated each other civilly, especially when we asked the real questions that were on our minds without the usual ecumenical filters. We had both participated in interfaith meetings, in which clergy from different faiths explained things about their religions. However, everyone usually avoids addressing the issues that separate them.

We had permission in our discussions to ask the “other” questions – questions that only people with polar opposite Belief Systems can ask. Why? Our brains automatically spot things that are different – especially skin color, gender and conflicting beliefs. One question that repeatedly popped up was this – Where did you guys come up with that? One of those occasions involved the Trinity. Have you ever tried to explain the Trinity to anyone – especially a rabbi! During discussions like these, another often repeated question popped up – Are you talking about a belief or a fact?

In discussions about religious beliefs, discussions always lead back to the same place – authority. In Protestant Christianity that authority is always “the Bible.” For my nondenominational denomination, a foundational doctrine was about the Bible: “The Bible is the inerrant infallible word of God.” A very simple question forced me to rethink not only the doctrine, but how I had been reading my Bible. That question was -- “Which Bible?

There are literally hundreds of English translations and thousands of ancient manuscripts of the books found in Bibles – and they differ in many different ways. However, for people with the belief above, everything in “the Bible” had to agree. Things written in Genesis had to agree with things written in Revelation. I think members of our churches probably subconsciously learned not ask questions that disagreed with the church’s doctrines and beliefs. My religion didn’t give members permission to “examine and question” official doctrines.

It is by having permission to examine and question each other’s beliefs and doctrines that transparency emerged in our relationship. Everything was on the table for examination and questioning – including the basis of religious authority of a group or religion. We understood the consequences of a religious leader “acknowledging being wrong” – job security, salaries, pensions, status, power, etc. This is the challenge that transparency brings to the table too. We believe that as members of religions learn to “value transparency,” they will come to not only value leaders that acknowledge errors they discover, but their congregations will reward them for sharing that information with them!

What we believed over twenty-five years ago is very different from what we know today. Jeffrey and I have helped each other discover errors and new facts so many times that changing our belief systems has become like updating security programs on our phones and computers.

About five years ago we became aware of the role that the human brain plays in our belief systems. As a matter of fact, we discovered that “belief systems” was the wrong name. We discovered that “Religious Beliefs” were not stored in a separate compartment in the brain under “religion.” All beliefs -- religious, political, economic, etc. -- are memes (electrochemical information stored in huge complex neural networks as parts of memory). Instead of changing beliefs, we were actually changing our realities – the ways we sensory perceive our worlds and give meanings to what we perceive.

I will share more about our journey in the next blog. We will also be discussing this topic soon on Facebook Live. Be sure to “Like” our “Lives 1st Facebook Page” so you can watch our discussions live. I will also provide a link to it so you can share it and watch it again later.  
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Friday, November 9, 2018

If not Lives 1st, What 1st?


Have you noticed that the world seems to have gone noticeably crazy? A couple of days ago I turned on a news channel and the first reports were these:

● Litchfield Park, AZ – 11 year-old boy murdered his grandmother by shooting her in the back of the head and then committed suicide. Why? She had been telling him to clean up his room.1

Daytona Beach, FL – 15 year-old boy strangles mother to death. Why? They had an argument over his grades.2

● Chippewa Falls, WI – 10 year-old girl charged with murder for stomping head of 6 month-old baby boy.3

● Rowan County, NC – 11 year-old boy charged with putting sewing needles in Halloween candy.4
  
The next day there was the shooting at the bar in California5the 307th mass shooting in America this year.6 Even though these things seem “crazy” to most of us, our work at the TOV Center suggests that there is a factor that we need to consider. A growing number of Americans value other things above human lives – attention, power, unexamined beliefs, predatory profits, entertainment, individual appetites, desires and longings, addictions, etc.

We discovered a standard for making decisions and examining human actions in the ancient Hebrew text of Bible. We call it the TOV Standard. It doesn’t involve or promote a theology. Almost everyone that hears about calls it “common sense.” It is a tool that helps us keep Lives 1st in our thoughts, decisions and actions. When you need to make a decision, write down the answers to the questions before you make the decision:

1. Whose lives will be protected or harmed?

2. Whose lives will be preserved or threatened?

3. Whose lives will become more or less functional?

4. Whose quality of life will be increased or decreased?

5. Who will receive or pay money?

This is a model you can also teach very young children. As a matter of fact, many times children have an easier time answering the questions because they haven’t learned how to rationalize and justify actions that fail to measure up to the TOV Standard – like adults often do so well.

When you are involved in a decision making discussion use your creativity to come up with TOV options!
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Wednesday, November 7, 2018

The Health-Wealth Gap grinds down the body in a host of unhealthy ways.


The growing gulf between rich and poor inflicts biological damage on bodies and brains.

Western cultures have long cherished the notion that all people are created equal. But in the real world, our lives are not balanced with equal opportunities and resources. This distinction was noted mordantly in 1894 by author Anatole France, who wrote that “the law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread.” The rich, of course, need none of these things, whereas the poor often have little choice. And economic disparity has only gotten worse during the past several decades, particularly in the U.S. In 1976 the richest 1 percent of U.S. citizens owned 9 percent of the country’s wealth; today they own nearly 24 percent. This trend echoes around the globe.

Life in societies with wide gaps between rich and poor creates ongoing social and psychological stresses. These grind down the body in a host of unhealthy ways, affecting our brains, our immune systems and our DNA, according to a broad range of research.

The above are quotes from Dr. Robert M. Sapolsky’s article “The Health-Wealth Gap” in the November 2018 issue of Scientific American, pp. 63-67. Pick-up a copy or view it online at http://scientificamerican.com .
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