Friday, September 30, 2005

True history

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Today I'm doing something I've never done before—teaching middle school.

My son's social studies class is beginning their unit on the Byzantine era, and I happen to be (somewhat) of an expert on Justinian and Theodora. I'm actually writing an historical novel about them—it's a fabulous story.

So I asked the teacher if she wanted me to come in to talk to the class about it. Next thing I knew, I was lined up to talk with *all four* of her classes. So today's the big day, feel free to send some support my way in my effort to be entertaining!

I love history. To me, it's one long story about regular people making decisions based on their own agendas or vision, adding up to what we have today. I love to dig in and try to understand the motivations of the key players. Why did Napoleon have to be in charge of everything he saw? Why did they kill Anastasia? Why did Caesar cross the Rubicon? What was up with Henry VIII and all those wives?

And what I see in learning the various threads of the story is a tapestry woven by everyone together, reflecting each person's journey. And remarkably, all this adds up to constant progress. For what is happening over time with all these stories is humanity's inexorable march toward Spirit. People act on the light inasmuch as they receive it, and that light moves us all forward.

The Bible to me is the best example of the story made plain. The key individuals in the Bible were significant because 1) they were regular people like you and me (with one exception), and 2) they had some deep insight about God that changed the course of history.

Abraham understood in his era of tribal worship that there is actually one all-powerful God who is Spirit. Joseph learned how to worship this God with fidelity and saved the lives of thousands. Moses brought us the idea that obedience to this God could govern our daily lives and make us better citizens and family members. David unified a nation with a commitment to the one God. Jesus, of course not the same kind of average guy, was the apex of this understanding, emphasizing among other things that this omnipotent omnipresent God is Love and Love brings healing. The Revelator saw through spiritual understanding a glimpse of reality, with the God of Love ruler over all creation, as indeed He always has been.

What are the chances of this happening randomly? Whatever folks may think about physical evolution, or how our material bodies were generated over time, what I believe is most important is the story of spiritual evolution. How we're developing along the path of growing closer to God is the real story.

I'm going to try to communicate to the kids today that history is not dates and battles, but people and stories and motivations and conflict and progress. And they are a part of that history, making their own stories that could even now be changing the world.

For you and me, I'm remembering today that our own spiritual progress and growth is not just making our own lives better, but is making the world better. The world feels the impulse of our prayers and progress, and we're contributing to the ultimate revelation we will all one day share.

The true theory of the universe, including man, is not in material history but in spiritual development.

--Science and Health

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