True Responsibility, Prerequisites to Spiritual Growth, Requisites for rapid consistent Spiritual Growth, Priorities, and Shaolin monks.
by Jon Peniel
“The best way to avoid responsibility, is to say ‘I have responsibilities’” – Richard Bach
Whether or not you believe in reincarnation, you can see that during a lifetime, some people serve darkness/evil, some degenerate spiritually, some people remain stagnant, some people grow spiritually. Variations of such tides of change, can continue endlessly – making two steps forward, one step back, or one step forward, two steps back, etc..
Amongst those who do make progress in spiritual growth, it is normally slowly. Every once in a while, someone decides to really “go for it”, and take a “fast track” to spiritual growth. Some make good progress, some slip and fall, some (the fewest), make it all the way “home” (to the Universal Spirit).
For those who have decided to take the fast track, there are prerequisites. It is the same for any true spiritual path. Because ultimately, all true paths lead to the same destination.
Just as in school, there are classes that are prerequisites to taking more advanced classes, life has its prerequisites also. Most importantly, so does spiritual growth.
What are the prerequisites? Things like being flowing, humble, willing to do anything it takes to transcend self and return to Oneness with and serving the Universal Spirit. Here are a few specifics:
Dave’s Top Ten List of Spiritual Growth Prerequisites: (OK, there’s not ten – but I’m not Dave either)
1 – Humility
2 – Wanting criticism
3 – Being flowing
4 – Taking responsibility
5 – Mastering your “Earthly physical affairs”
List of Requisites for Deliberate Consistent Spiritual Growth:
1 – Soliciting criticism
2 – Accepting the criticism you get, positively.
3 – Applying the criticism – using it to change and grow
4 – Placing your attention on others instead of SELF
5 – Giving. Switching from the self-centered polarity of wanting and taking, to the Spirit centered polarity of giving, self-sacrifice, and flowing.
6 – Self discipline
7 – Dedication
8 – Devotion
9 – Unswerving, rock solid commitment
10 – Using a teacher
HUMILITY & CRITICISM
First let me qualify what I mean by criticism. We’re primarily talking about getting criticism from those who want to help you change and grow. Those with a negative/selfish agenda, do NOT have that goal. We recently had a reader who asked for criticism from those he already knew thought he was crazy and irresponsible for being into the teachings, and wanted to dissuade him from his chosen path. Of course, they’d already made their views known, and criticized him from a negative point of view. That’s not what we’re talking about here. In fact, that is a self-trick. The self is hoping that they WILL dissuade him, so it can retain dominance and control. I’m not saying a person should ignore criticism from anyone (other than someone you know has nothing by negative intent and negative input) – most people should be allowed their opinion in case there is something valid there for your spiritual growth. But when you know it’s from someone with a negative agenda, “where they are coming from” needs to be taken into consideration. Plus you don’t need to “solicit” such criticism, they will try and force their opinion onto you. And as I have often said to those who would criticize my choice of my spiritual path, or other aspects of my life which are part of or reflections of that, “I welcome your opinion, but only ONE time, anything beyond that is nagging, being overbearing, and trying to force your beliefs and opinions onto me.” And I will walk out on anyone who doesn’t respect my choices, and nags me with their opinions. If you indulge such people, you are not just wasting your time, you are buying into their ploy and draining your energy and thoughts into their “black hole”, which is partly what they want – at least it is “a beginning” for their ploy, and gives them hope that they can confuse and ensnare you. And your selfish separate SELF is more than happy to oblige.
Now for true constructive criticism.
Criticism is like someone holding a mirror in front of you. It can show you yourself – what is really there as opposed to what you like to think of yourself as. If you don’t like what you see, you may hate the mirror/mirror holder. If you like what you see, you will like them. If you don’t like what you see, but wanted to see it anyway so you could change yourself, you won’t hate or be angry with the mirror or mirror holder. If you lack humility, you will avoid the mirror, or be in denial of what you see (often goes along with being angry at the mirror, hating the mirror, or being angry or hating the person holding the mirror). But the mirror can be a great tool! In fact, it is THE greatest tool for change, and you should be grateful for it, and those holding it up to you. If you are willing to see a flaw, a blackhead, etc.., you can use the mirror to help yourself “fix yourself up” – i.e., correct yourself. In that sense, criticism can be likened to a sculptor’s chisel that someone is handing you – you can use to sculpt your being into what you want it to be, and keep sculpting until perfection (or as close as you can get). Unfortunately, most people throw the chisel at the person holding the mirror!
Humility is the attitude it takes to really want, take, and apply criticism. It is what someone feels, and how someone acts, who has truly realized that their SELF is their own worst enemy, that they are the problem, that they need to change, that they really want to change, that they need a mirror, want a mirror, and will use a chisel if given the opportunity. It is truly realizing that you know nothing (or at least very little). It is “being an empty cup”, in order that you may be filled (a full cup cannot be filled). It is “becoming like a little child” in a sense.
Unfortunately, many of those who start a spiritual path, or toy with one, think they have humility or realization of knowing little and needing to learn and grow. They may even ask for criticism. But the first time the mirror shows them their flaws, they do some or all of the following – they deny, they resist, they fight it, they defend, they run, condemn the mirror or the holder, and refuse to use the chisel, often throwing it at the mirror/holder in anger, telling them they need to chisel themselves instead.
Even students who have dedicated their lives to sacrificing themselves for spiritual growth and caring for others, do this to some extent. I have long observed my novice students doing this during special meetings that are specifically for giving and taking constructive criticism. When something is brought up to one student about a trait, or incident, in which they are flawed, or behaved in a flawed manner, they often instantly get defensive, without even thinking about it, and make themselves “confused” about the issue. They “bullshit” and beat around the bush about it. They find it painful, and are “hurt”. They eventually work through this of course, see their flaws, apologize, do an affirmation to confirm their positive commitment, and every once in a while, change. But while the student “under fire” is being defensive and confused, the matter is perfectly clear and obvious to all the other students in the meeting. But when it becomes their turn, the exact same thing happens. the next turn, and the next… And these are people who have totally dedicated themselves, made a commitment, and are under the guidance of a loving elder or teacher. So for those who aren’t, it is very difficult.
Which brings us to our next issue – kindness and compassion. Most people have no idea what it’s like to get their self-ego “busted”, until it happens the first time. They swear they understand, swear they know what it’s like, but they don’t. It happens every time. And the first time someone does get the painful burning truth brought up to them, is the first time you see how they are going to react.
What they really expect kindness and compassion to be, is someone being “nice” to them, soothing and coddling. But until selflessness is achieved, people are ruled by, and think they ARE, their selfish separate selves. But they don’t see it that way. So what they expect is for an enlightened, or kind, or compassionate person to be nice, coddling, soothing, and in agreement with, their SELF. And if and when that doesn’t happen, and instead, they get the truth and criticism that come from unselfishly loving beings, they point their finger at the mirror/mirror holder, accuse them of being unkind, uncompassionate, not spiritual, not of the light, and throw the chisel at them.
On the ill fated free access discussion board, we lost two people who became angry and hostile after getting mild criticism that they’d asked for. They had no idea it would be so painful, and instead of seeing the truth, they did the typical pattern of turning the tables and blaming the criticism giver for the exact negative qualities they had within themselves.
Quite some time ago, I realized that the “Lost Teachings of Atlantis” book has very few examples of the harsh, intense self-ego busting I got from my teachers, and others. It clearly infers it, but since it no longer bothers me, it doesn’t come across how intense and how painful it was at the time. Perhaps I’ll have opportunity to change that sometime in the future. But believe me, the same things happened until I “got” humility. I was defensive, was in denial of the truth of what was being brought up about me, and blamed others for being unloving, uncompassionate, untrue, etc.. And the thing is with a teacher, kind of like life itself, if you don’t listen the first time, and learn your lesson when it’s being presented mildly, you will have to learn it the hard way. In the case of a teacher, the more defensive you are, the more of a wall you put up to block the truth and light, the more the volume turns up on the intensity in an effort to break down the block. This isn’t a conscious thing mind you, just part of the flow of God working through enlightened beings. In dealing with advanced stages of defensiveness, a teachers yelling can bring down the walls of Jericho. But of course, that’s what a student is there for, at least, according to what they say they want. Why do you think I was scared of Zain until I got humility and really started wanting to change?
Humiliation. An awful word isn’t it? One with a terrible negative connotation. Humility, nice connotation, smiley faces. Humiliation, bad connotation, frowney faces. But what’s the diff? Notice the strong similarity in the words? Well, humiliation is what happens when you aren’t humble, but are forced into a situation that breaks down your self-ego. Sort of (but not quite), forced humility. It all depends on your perspective. Whether or not you are positive or negative, and whether or not you are wanting to be humble – for real. How can you “humiliate” someone who is humble? Call them a _____! No, seriously. You can’t humiliate someone who is humble. You can’t offend or humiliate someone who has transcended SELF. You may illicit a very intense response (for you), but they simply don’t care anymore about defending their self – because that’s not what they are anymore, that’s “where they come from” or how they live anymore. So there is nothing to defend. They are a fool for God. But it is ooohhhh so easy to “push buttons” on those who think highly of themselves, and want to avoid the truth, the light, unselfishness.
Take the example of Jesus getting intensely righteously indignant (an enlightened, loving, compassionate being’s version of anger), in response to the money changers in the Temple. He actually got physical. Now, should we say that Jesus was unloving, uncompassionate, and not of God because of that? Or realize he was that way all the time in the face of selfishness, defensiveness, etc.. As is the Universal Spirit. But how do you think the money changers felt? They were totally humiliated, let alone thrashed, both self-ego wise, and physically. I’m sure they thought, felt, and accused Jesus of being unkind, don’t you? You are no different, and that’s the way it feels to finally really get your self-ego busted. It is after all, an attack on the selfish separate self, and until you get beyond it, that’s who and what you feel and think you are – so you feel like you are being unjustly and wrongly attacked, and defend your self. Unless you’ve at least achieved the level of humility it takes to want it, take it, see it, and use it. And you have the commitment to see your self through times of extreme struggle with your self.
Here are a few things I hear sometimes, that are examples of being unflowing and “stuck” in a self chosen life.
First, people often say they don’t have time for meditation because they don’t have the luxury of living at a monastery, and/or, have jobs and a family that take up so much of their time, that they have no time left. Bull, to number one and two. I worked harder and longer hours than ANY of you with jobs and families, and still had to do my meditations. That’s typical of our monastic lifestyle. I made time. So can you. It’s a matter or priorities, not time. All my students work harder and longer than anyone else, even you.
I have lived in Hawaii a number of times, and during those periods, I’d constantly meet people on vacation who said, “You’re so lucky to be able to live here”. It always amazed me, because it wasn’t a matter of luck at all, just choice, and in my case, also Universal will. So I’d say, “You can live here too, but…shhhh, here’s the secret… you can’t live here unless… you move here.”, and they’d often get a puzzled look.
We hear from many people who want to do Golden Rule meetings/start GR groups in their area, but no one else lives near enough them to get something going. Even with a thousand people who’d like to do it, spread out across this big country of 300 million, still makes poor odds that any two are living in the same area. So on the old free access discussion board, I suggested that some people might want to consider moving to the same area, so there would be others of like mind to associate with. I suggested the “front range” of Colorado (Ft. Collins, Longmont, Boulder, Denver, CO springs, etc.), being a relatively central and decent place to live, booming job market, housing etc.. I figured that if maybe at least a dozen or two people would choose to do something like that, it would make for a decent support group. Some are considering it. But others react like it’s impossible, and protest that they have families and jobs, etc., and just can’t pick up and move. It’s funny, because on the news the CO governor was giving an ultimatum to counties to come up with a controlled growth program, or else. Why? Because so manypeople move to CO because of a great job market, better education, beauty, climate, less crime, whatever. Millions of people move to other states each year for reasons like that, but when it comes to moving for spiritual growth? Well, again, it’s a matter of priorities, and people putting their actions/money were their mouth is. No one CAN’T move (unless they’re prisoners or brainwashed that they can’t), how difficult it would be, is another issue, and again, a matter of priorities.
THE STORY OF THE HEADLESS HORSEMAN (I MEAN THE HANDLESS MONK)
This is the story of the beginnings of the famous Shaolin order of monks (made famous by the great spiritual TV show “Kung Fu” – the original, not the spiritually lacking “Kung Fu, the legend continues”). It’s a story about the kind of dedication and commitment that is a prerequisite to true spiritual growth.
Long ago, a student of Buddha, who had since become a true teacher, visited the capital of China. He was famous, had developed a great new martial art, and both the royal politicians and the Buddhist monasteries wanted his blessings, teachings, and martial arts instruction. They gave him the red carpet treatment, and showed him all the Temples and shrines they’d built to honor Buddha. Then he was asked what he thought of their impressive projects. He was appalled, and told them the buildings were abominations, reflections of their lack of “getting it”. He said Buddha didn’t want to be worshipped, he wanted people to change, to find freedom, compassion, enlightenment, etc.. Buddha, as did this monk/teacher, wanted people to live and learn from the teachings, not idolize them. Thus, he went to a cave in the mountains, and refused to teach until he found a worthy student. Monks would come frequently, asking him to be their teacher, but he would send them away, telling them they didn’t have what it took to learn. One day, a monk went to see the teacher, and cut off his hand in a gesture of self sacrifice, discipline, and commitment. This person he took as his student, and that student became the first Shaolin monk and master. Now, that story is to make a point, don’t anyone go doing stupid mutilations to their body in an attempt to make themselves humble or to demonstrate they are student material. That was for that one man, that time, that place, and that situation. But humility is humility. There are many ways it shows when you have it, as well as with dedication, discipline and commitment. There are indications that you have realized you “know nothing” and have become an empty cup, and there are indications that you are dedicated and committed – giving and helping for instance. All of the “prerequisites” can be demonstrated, and that means far more than just “lip service”. Not that verbally affirming your goals and ideals isn’t good too – but it isn’t enough. And none of you are really going to make a big dent in spiritual growth, until you “get” those prerequisites.
MASTERING YOUR “PHYSICAL AFFAIRS” BEFORE YOU CAN MASTER SPIRITUAL AFFAIRS
The following is NOT addressed to those who are truly trapped by circumstances. There are those in the world, who just can’t make a good living by honest means, because of severe disability, third world situations, or other factors. In fact, there are people who’d be thrilled just to be able to raise enough food to feed themselves or their families. There are increasing numbers of family farmers who lose their farms after generations of working the land, and they work 16 hour or more days. Take my word for it folks – a food crisis, and the ramifications of that, will be impacting all of you very intensely one day (if you don’t die some other way first).
When I first re-learned the next concept (in this life), I was asking Zain about what we called “single brothers” at our US monastery which was more open to the public and “new” monks. Single brothers were guys who were a bit sloppy, lazy, irresponsible, “spacey”, etc. – you know, the type that most women don’t want to date, let alone get attached to – thus the word “single”. Interestingly, “single brothers” seemed to make little spiritual headway also. They also tended to “sleep in” rather than getting up promptly for yoga or early morning meditations. Father said their overall condition, and spiritual condition, involved being so lazy as to not even have their Earthly affairs in order – he said having the basic physical aspects of your life together/mastered, was a prerequisite to getting your spiritual affairs in order, and making real spiritual growth progress.
Mastering your Earthly physical affairs doesn’t mean making millions, driving a BMW etc. But it does mean having enough drive to keep yourself and your dwelling clean, hold down a job, pay your bills, take care of your family if you have one, etc. – you know, basic adult responsibility stuff. You see, the spiritual path, and the demands it makes on a person’s use of free will, discipline, and personal sacrifice are so extreme, no one can expect to really walk a spiritual path, and achieve spiritual growth, if they haven’t even mastered that basic discipline of making a living, keeping clean clothes, etc.. If they are so lazy, undisciplined, or uncaring that they don’t even survive in a physically decent manner, how can they progress in something far more difficult, such as the sacrifice and self-discipline required by true spiritual growth? It’s very true. Of course, that doesn’t apply to those who are destitute because of legitimate reasons beyond their control (although there is still karma involved in that one – but that’s another issue). But as we speak, even in this dim economic environment, in the “Western world” at least, and many Eastern or third world counties, there is ample opportunity to shape one’s life into anything you choose, and no excuse to be “poor” (unless you have taken a vow of poverty deliberately, or there are true extenuating circumstances). People can use “green energy” to further spiritual causes, and there is no excuse not to maximize that potential. And if you have taken a vow of poverty because of laziness, not idealistic devotion, that is unacceptable (of course, you wouldn’t likely have a computer or be in touch with us if that were the case).
The change from a selfish separate self, to an unselfishly loving enlightened being, is a 180 degree, total turnaround. It is changing from a consciousness and way of living that is “take” oriented, constantly wanting and seeing everything in the light of “how does this impact me”, and making your self look good, to a consciousness and way of living that is “give” oriented, constantly wanting and seeing everything in the light of “how does this effect them”, and not caring how you appear to others. That also obviously involves changing from working hard and hustling for your self (or being lazy), to being the hardest worker anyone’s ever seen, for others, and your own spiritual growth.
There is much about this in the “Lost Teachings of Atlantis” book, so I’ll try to give specifics. Even if you get to the point where you really want to give, and think of others all the time, until you are “enlightened” and just a channel for decisions made by the hierarchy/Universal Spirit, you can give in ways that are detrimental to others. And again, being a giving person doesn’t mean being a doormat or “nice” all the time. Have you heard of “tough love”? Giving to others for their spiritual growth or best interests for instance, as described above, can be very intense and seem harsh – but if that’s what they need, you have to do it if you care about them, even if they or others judge you as being cruel and not spiritual. But you must be of the right consciousness, and coming from the right place.
So what do you do until you are in the right place? Well, if you are dealing with relationship matters, do the best you can, and ask guidance from unbiased counselors if you can. The Golden Rule workbook has some good things you can practice at home also. If you are dealing with asset issues, or helping others financially, again, either get guidance from someone you believe to be coming from the right place, or give to those who you know are giving under the guidance of Universal Will. Which brings us to financially giving – tithing or donating to charities/churches/spiritual organizations, and having the means to do so.
Most charities solicit for a specific cause, but don’t tell you that they take most everything for “administrative” costs, paying those who run things, leaving little to really help others. That isn’t always the case of course, but it is a good generality. You can usually find out about the percentages by asking, or checking data.
The Children of the Law of One™ , have never asked, but always received and accepted aid – sometimes from royalty and leaders of countries. Aid furthered our ability to help others. The same with other orders, like Buddhist, Christian monks, etc. But in the past, our order has never solicited or requested aid. We never needed to, because of our supporters, God, and our own work. And time. We had as much time as we needed to develop projects – over ages if need be. But time has run out on many things because the world has changed greatly, and is looking like it will be changing even more dramatically and soon. The balance between light and dark has shifted greatly to the dark. Our monks, and others, have been murdered, monasteries destroyed. Crime and cruelty are at an all time high in the world. Children are killing children. Nature has turned on mankind. The world as we know it, is in the process of ending. Time, is running out for “normal” existence, and perhaps existence on Earth at all. Spirituality, returning to Oneness with the Universal Spirit, must be top priority, and things that foster that, and help others “hang in there” while working on that, are thus also top priority.
Because of that, we have just begun to ask for assistance to promote the teachings, support, and gifts to accomplish projects we feel are vital and time-sensitive. For instance, in requesting help getting the teachings out, the specifics and tools for doing so were given. When it comes to gifts, unless it is given as a general gift, it is used for for specific goals, entirely and directly for the purpose specified. For example, donations to non-profit projects go directly for project expenses, not pay (including the monks who work it), not “administrative costs”, etc. (even though it does take lots of time for workers, and administrators, who need to support themselves just like anyone else).
While this lecture is a stand alone general lesson, it is particularly applicable to those who have not responded to our request for services or financial assistance for such projects, or for those who have said they are not able to help at all for various reasons.
Most people live “hand to mouth”, month to month, and most have family. I should mention we also live day to day, bills get paid accordingly, and we have families. It doesn’t matter, we take care of ourselves, our responsibilities, others, and still donate to important projects – because spiritual growth/freedom, is ourpriority.
How many people with kids couldn’t afford to take their child to a doctor and get a cast if they broke their arm? With a few exceptions, anyone who can’t afford to take care of their kids, should be chastised for being so irresponsible and/or lazy as to bring children into the world without being prepared to care for them properly, or maintaining that care. And they should do something about changing it. If part of the problem is that the other parent isn’t pulling their weight, they need to get them to be more responsible, or find one who is. If it isn’t a single parent situation, a mother should be able to stay home, nurture and educate her children, while cost of living/debts are covered, and still have enough to support your chosen religion or charitable projects. If not, it’s time to evaluate your life, your budget, and find out the real reason why.
There are many who just don’t make supporting their spiritual lives, ministers, and helping others a priority. Then there are others who have mental programming limitations, that they allow to keep them down. For instance, people work in minimum wage jobs because that’s all they think they can do (or, they don’t care). People have been programmed and raised to think a certain way, and the self prefers it that way (as well as the powerful greedy people who control many things). There is no reason that in this, and many other countries, you can’t make a very profitable income, rather than being “slave labor”. If you are going to work anyway, why not make the most of it – not for self, but so you have the “green energy” to help others (We call money “green energy” because it is merely a convertible form of energy. When someone puts out energy for a service they provide, or in making something, they get money in exchange for that energy. The money is then a common, mutually agreed upon “barter commodity” containing “x” amount of energy, that can be given to others, for their energy, or the products that were made by other people’s energy). For instance, I know a carpenter who worked for $8/hour. He thought he wasn’t worth any more. I pointed out that he could be doing the same amount of work, and making $30/hour – if he believed he was worth it, marketed himself that way, and worked hard. He did, and feels better for it.
When I was a teenager, I had friends who thought they were poor because all they had was a 3 million dollar house, and had to cut down on buying “his and her” new Cadillacs every year, to buying them every other year. They sincerely thought and felt they were not well off, and were suffering because of the high cost of malpractice insurance. I know a billionaire, who puts up notes on every light switch and thermostat in his 60,000 sq ft, 60 bedroom/60 bath house, telling people to keep the lights off, and the thermostat at 80 degrees (in the summer), because his air conditioning bill is 7000/day. For many people, 3 days of his AC bill is their total yearly income. It’s all relative. There is always someone who has more than you , and less than you. Everyone thinks and feels they are “struggling”. It’s the nature of the selfish separate self. But how many of you are doing without food, without shelter, without a computer!?
People always prioritize their lives in order of what is most important to them. If it is spirituality, finding inner peace, returning to Oneness with God, etc., their lives, and budgets, are arranged accordingly. Nothing is more important. If it is food, shelter, transportation, jobs, etc., it is arranged accordingly. If it is family, children, etc., it is arranged accordingly. If it is clothes and makeup or a nice car, it is arranged accordingly. If it is a savings account, it is arranged accordingly. If it is having a good time, going to movies, eating out, espresso, etc., it is arranged accordingly. If it is drugs, it is arranged accordingly. Now… I look at these things differently than most people do. For instance, my thoughts center around spirituality, and that is the first order of caring about others, thus, I think, if one doesn’t truly have God in their lives first, what kind of family are they going to have, or raise? Or, what good is their food and shelter and goods? Is their priority just taking care of one more selfish person or people in this world? I don’t find that honorable, or a priority. “Seek God first, and all else will come to you”. If a person isn’t One with God, serving God, serving Universal will, then what good are they doing for their family? What kind of influence will they have on them? How will the children turn out? A good job, nice house, savings and inheritance for the kids? So what? What is any of it worth, if they haven’t really found harmony, inner peace, and oneness with God themselves? And what is a parent’s efforts worth, if what they’re doing isn’t going to give their children any opportunity to find that? Or worse, denying them one possible opportunity to find that. If they are not serving God, and helping others with all they have, they have nothing, as with anyone. Another blip on the screen of the 6 billion selfish lives that pass through the population, taking what they can get, contributing nothing, other than furthering the infestation of negative parasites on this plane, and continuing the plague of darkness and suffering.
An old Cat Stevens song: “Oh very young, what will you leave us this time? You’re only dancing on this Earth for a short while. And though your dreams may toss and turn you now, will you carry the words of love with you, will you ride the great white bird into heaven? And though you want to last forever, you know you never will. And the goodbyes make the journey harder still.”
Some people say they can’t give because they have “debts”. Another old song from a group called Nova “Don’t be afraid, when you haven’t paid money when it’s due. The only debt you really owe, is to the light inside of you.” I’m not saying people shouldn’t pay their bills, but again, I don’t believe that’s all they can really do. I really believe they can do both, if it is their priority to do so. If someone is paying bills, and still managing to live, eat, have shelter, etc., I know they aren’t spending every dime paying of debts. swing a bit more towards supporting those who support them, and others, spiritually. It’s just a matter of priority. People can re-budget, and cut something less important to them out of their life – of course, I guess that’s what some people already did when they decided they couldn’t spare a nickel for their spiritual organization.
What should a truly spiritually oriented, spiritually prioritizing person think when they know someone is eating, has a place to live, a computer, and time to do “chat”, but say they can’t even afford a piddly $5 a week (10% of a $50/week income!), let alone a minimal percentage tithe their income (small or large) to support their “church”, their “ministers”, and projects to help all of humankind and make the world a better place for you and others? The reason a tithe and taxes are based on percentages is so that those with small incomes can pay less, and those with large ones can pay more (good luck on that – remember the “easier for a camel to get through the eye of a needle than a rich man to get to heaven” quote from Jesus?) My mother, a single, working, lower-middle class woman getting no child support or alimony, gave $5/week to her church, even back in the 40’s and 50’s, before inflation, when it was worth 10 to 20 times that. So for those who say they can’t, I say take a look at the budget and reprioritize – I’ll bet there are unnecessary, non-spiritual priority items in there that could be shifted about. All major religions, and most minor, are supported by tithing or donations from their members. There is no reason our supporters/members, should not do the same, and every reason why they should give more to support teachings that people say helped so much, and these important causes. And those who believe in it, should give more than other people give to their religions. Why don’t some people? It simply isn’t a priority to really support or help anyone else but themselves. Anyone reading this, can afford to help to various extents.
The vast majority of people on Earth are selfish, right? Most people are tight with their money, whether they make $200/week, or $200,000/week. It’s OK if people don’t want to support their chosen spiritual path, really. But they shouldn’t make excuses to anyone, including their self, about what the real reasons are. If it’s not just a matter of being selfish, but rather, not a matter of not having physical affairs in order, then they should get that together. If someone is just too selfish to contribute, that’s ok too. But anyone so entrenched in selfishness and greed shouldn’t expect spiritual growth, and has no place in a real community, or virtual community, amongst those who want to give and grow. And remember that we are also trying to make ends meet, while ministering to others, and working on projects for humanity.
Again, the best way to avoid responsibility, is to say “I have responsibilities”. Don’t pretend you aren’t prioritizing, because you are. Everyone will do what they want. By your actions, not your words, your life will be shaped. And everyone else will see what is really important to you. And as Jesus said, they will know by your actions/your love (like His love), who are His followers.