In conjunction with Focus Music, Celebration Center is thrilled to host the trio, Brother Sun, on their final tour together. Over the past six years, Greg Greenway, Pat Wictor, and Joe Jencks have been making festival and venue appearances across the United States and Canada singing healing, love, and goodness into the world. As individual […]
The other day, Suzanne and I went to see Star Trek: Beyond. As long-time Trekkers (Suzanne especially), we were eager to see the latest in the Star Trek reboot series.
The movie has many typical Trek elements. As usual, the Enterprise gets in a major scrape. On a mission, the Enterprise gets drawn into uncharted territory. They pick up a distress signal. As it approaches the planet, the Enterprise is attacked by a large cluster of hostile ships. They are under the command of an alien named Krall, who has a deep-seated hatred of the Federation. Krall is after a bio-weapon called the Abronath. But Krall finds it has already been taken.
Krall captures Uhura and Sulu, along with the rest of the crew. After Krall threatens to kill Sulu, a crew member, Ensign Syl, gives up the weapon. Krall takes Uhura and Syl into a chamber where he unleashes the Abronath, causing Syl to disintegrate.
Scotty encounters an inhabitant of the planet named Jaylah, who inhabits an early-generation crashed Federation ship called the USS Franklin. Jaylah traps Kirk and Chekhov, but releases them when Scotty says they’re part of his crew. Scotty, meanwhile, fixes the transporter on the Franklin, enabling him to transport Spock and McCoy there.
Unfortunately, Uhura and most of the crew are at Krall’s headquarters, and Scotty says he can’t transport them from there. So they head to Krall’s headquarters. Kirk creates a diversion while the rest fight Krall’s men. Krall and his men head towards Yorktown, where he can activate the Abronath. The crew heads to Yorktown also, and a battle ensues.
Eventually, they find information leading to Krall’s true identity from decades ago. I won’t reveal it to avoid spoiling the plot, but suffice it to say that Krall has what he considers very good reasons to carry a long-standing anger at the Federation (you may agree), and he was not always the monster that he is when the Enterprise finds him.
It is that anger that turned him into the vicious monster. He has been stewing in this anger (perhaps legitimate) for decades and it has warped him. Kirk, of course, tries to save him from what he has become, but to no avail.
Needless to say, Kirk and the Enterprise crew save the day, but again, I don’t want to spoil the plot. Suffice it to say that Krall meets a very unhappy fate. The crew then helps Jaylah get into Star Fleet Academy.
What is the lesson of this movie, aside from never mess with James T. Kirk and the Enterprise? It’s a very stark reminder of the power of anger, of how it can warp us if we let ourselves stew in it rather than letting it go. Krall is transformed by his anger at the Federation into the monster we see for most of the movie. Had he just let go of his righteous indignation, he might have been able to make a better life on the planet, perhaps lifted himself and the inhabitants. Instead, he became the vicious Krall, who is a danger to everyone.
Being angry is occasionally justified and always destructive. But it’s best to let it pass through, or become a stimulus to constructive action. When you hold onto it, it is extremely harmful. Letting go can empower your life; holding on can bring out the worst you have. As Raymond Charles Barker tells us in a chapter title from The Science of Successful Living, “Resentment Is Ruin”. Let it go, and you can “live long and prosper.”
This is definitely a movie you will enjoy and it will teach, as well. It’s one to see.
Dear Beloved Field,
It was an amazing week of transformation on the mountain for the recent Centers for Spiritual Living Summer Teen Camp. The theme for this year was “your God is showing.”
God showed Itself in innumerable special moments. One of the most poignant was when five of our young men came on stage and shared their story via spoken word/rap. The bravery of these young men in stating their truth relative to their everyday life is touching, inspiring, and thought provoking.
Certainly, we are all aware that so many of our youth, and especially those of different ethnicities, are perceived and treated in our society today. This video speaks to that. We have created this video for you to share and show in your center so as to start a dialogue regarding this subject.
After eight days with 280 incredible teens and 75 adults at CSL Teen Camp, one thing has become very clear — we must leave our world on a better trajectory for our children and youth. As conscious metaphysicians, we have the tools to impact consciousness, and we have the capacity to take steps to do so.
As you will see in the video, Centers for Spiritual Living provides tools for our youth and children to see themselves in a healthy light. We believe it is time to provide them with so much more!
We trust you will enjoy this video and will use it in a manner that furthers the evolution of our movement.
Oh…………..and your God is showing!
Peace and Blessings,
Dr. Kenn Gordon Dr. Keith Cox
Spiritual Leader Youth Events Manager
One of our favorite movies is coming back to theatres. To celebrate this year’s 100th anniversary of the birth of author Roald Dahl, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory will be shown in movie theatres on Sunday, June 26, at 2:00 PM and 7:00 PM, and again on Wednesday, June 29 at 2:00 PM and 7:00 PM. It includes specially produced commentary by Turner Classic Movies host Ben Mankiewicz. The showing is distributed by Fathom Events.
The movie is based on Dahl’s book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. It concerns Charlie Bucket, a poor boy who lives with his parents and his bedridden grandparents. He hears about a promotion at the Willy Wonka chocolate factory: five Wonka bars in the world will include golden tickets, entitling the holder to a tour of the factory and a lifetime supply of chocolate.
Four tickets are found, and then a fifth one is reported to be found in Paraguay. Charlie is disappointed. But the fifth ticket turns out to be a forgery.
One day, Charlie finds some money on his way home from school. He buys a Wonka bar and another for his Grandpa Joe. One of them has a golden ticket! He and a family member are going to get to tour the Wonka chocolate factory! The golden ticket causes Grandpa Joe to rise from his bed and walk. He is going to accompany Charlie on the tour.
The song that he sings, “Golden Ticket” (part of a brilliant score by Anthony Newley and Leslie Bricusse), is a wonderful prosperity song.
I never dreamed that I would climb over the moon in ecstasy
But nevertheless, it’s there that I’m shortly about to be
‘Cause I’ve got a golden ticket
I’ve got a golden chance to make my way
And with a golden ticket, it’s a golden day
Grandpa Joe and Charlie join the other families on the tour. Each family has been approached by Wonka’s archrival, Mr. Slugworth, asking them to give him the secret of Wonka’s newest creation, the Everlasting Gobstopper.
During the tour, various children meet various unusual fates. Notably, watch the humorous but pointed exit of the spoiled Veruca Salt who sings the song “I Want It Now!” The lines, “Don’t care how/I want it now” sum up her attitude.
Two other songs are notable from a metaphysical point of view: the well-known “Candy Man” and the theme song of the movie, “Pure Imagination” (which has been covered by singers such as Jackie Evancho, the “Glee” cast, and others).
Early on in the movie, Bill, the candy store owner, sings “Candy Man” as kids are buying Wonka bars. He sings:
Who can take a sunrise, Sprinkle it with dew
Cover it in chocolate and a miracle or two?
The candy man, The candy man can
The candy man can cause he mixes it with love and makes the world taste good.
The song ends with this line:
And the world tastes good cause the candy man thinks it should.
“Pure Imagination” is the song Wonka sings as the tour of his chocolate factory is beginning. It is his introduction to the tour, inviting the children and their chaperones into his world. According to Wonka,
If you want to view paradise, simply look around and view it
Anything you want to, do it
Wanna change the world?
There’s nothing to it
There is no life I know
To compare with Pure Imagination
Living there, You’ll be free
If you truly wish to be
What is the takeaway from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, other than a very good time?
First, the power of pure imagination. Wonka’s world is filled with miraculous things like a chocolate river. Miracles are all around. Do we notice? Imagination can help us see the miraculous and bring it forth. It is the thing that truly brings us freedom. But we have to let it flow. It takes what Walt Disney used to call “Imagineering”. Perhaps it can even cause the bedridden to “take up his bed and walk.” Do we believe it?
Second, we see the power of putting energy into what we want. Charlie is determined to get a golden ticket and he gets one, simply (it seems) on the power of knowing that he will. This is what we do in spiritual mind treatment. We state our desired effect or state of being with energy and allow God to work as and through us to achieve what we focus on. We see what happens when we insist on having it right away. God works in God’s time, and that isn’t always the time frame that we have in mind. But if we know that it is done, if we let God do it, what is ours comes to us. If not, well, hopefully we don’t end up like Veruca Salt.
Finally, Willy Wonka reminds us, as Fathom’s promotional page says, of “the sweetest secret of all: a generous, loving heart.”
This is a must-see movie. It’s a lot of fun, and it will open your heart and inspire you to see the miracles and prosperity all around you – a very worthy way to enjoy a couple of hours. And you’ll likely head home singing.
A Letter from Dr. Kenn:
Let Us Raise Our Consciousness and End This Senseless Violence
Our hearts are broken open once again by senseless violence and unjustifiable use of force against African Americans in the United States. Alton Sterling and Philando Castile are the latest names added to a list that is far too long. Like many, I am tempted to decry a growing epidemic, but in truth this violence is not new. What is new is social media and cell phone cameras that have raised the level of general public awareness of a persistent issue. And let us be clear about what the issue is; this is not a policing issue, nor is it not a gun issue. This is a consciousness issue. Our modern technology is giving us a gift. The gift to see what is really going on. Our social media reveals that which has always been true – that we are all connected. To quote Mother Teresa “we belong to each other.” Through this connection we see the devastating pain and discomfort that comes when we engage in behavior that breaks the bond of that inherent spiritual connection. We must be willing to be uncomfortable and stay uncomfortable. What do we do as we sit in this discomfort once again?
Of course we pray. We pray not to take the pain away, but to enter into it and ask it to speak to us. It is time to come together to feel our collective pain so that we may reestablish our sacred covenant of belonging to one another. Once established in this bond we must act in accordance with it. This not just a call to prayer, this is a call to act. To act in affirmation of our sacred connection with the One Life of all. This is a time to affirm that all life is sacred. That #BlackLivesMatter and to do what is ours to do in helping create a world that works for everyone.
I encourage you to take time to pray and I encourage you to take time to discern what you can do to add to the awakening of humanity to its spiritual magnificence. There are many resources online to better educate ourselves of racism, white privilege and social action. We all can do something, read a book, take a class, join a movement….and we must. There are no quick and easy answers, there is only the measure of our willingness to create change.
If you or anyone in your community needs prayer, please seek out a CSL Center, a Practitioner or contact the CSL World Ministry of Prayer: worldministryofprayer.org
If you would like to learn more about how you and your community can be part of the solution to racism, please contact the diversity commission for a training in your center.http://diversity.csl.
Advice for White Folks in the Wake of the Police Murder of a Black Person
And for immediate possible action.
Peace and Blessings,
Dr. Kenn Gordon, Spiritual Leader
Suzanne and I went to see the movie “Miracles from Heaven”. We were a little dubious, suspecting that it might be a bit preachy. It was not. Instead, it’s a movie that will restore your faith and deepen it – literally. The movie is an inspiring story of faith, mindfulness, and miracles.
The movie is adapted from the book by Christy Beam, and she is a major character (beautifully played by Jennifer Garner). Many of you have undoubtedly heard the story, so I won’t worry too much about spoilers. It concerns Christy Beam’s daughter Annabelle (Anna), who is struck by a rare degenerative disease that brings her constant pain. There is no cure.
At first, several doctors misdiagnose the condition. Finally, at Christy’s insistence, the doctors take another look and find the rare, incurable condition. The Beams live in Texas, but the best doctor for the condition is in Boston. So every six weeks, Christy and Anna fly to Boston to see the doctor. But there isn’t a lot that helps. The doctor does all he can, and he is caring and funny.
Meanwhile, back in Texas, Christy’s husband Kevin is caring for their other two girls and trying to figure out how to keep the house running financially, since he had taken all the equity in the house to start his veterinary business.
While in Boston, Christy and Anna meet a waitress named Angela who shows them around. They re-connect with Angela every time they come back to Boston. She becomes their friend and is very supportive.
Anna shares a room in the hospital with another little girl (whose name, we find out later, is Haley). Haley is dying of cancer. Anna gives Haley her cross medallion. Amidst all this, Christy is losing her faith.
Anna’s sisters try to cheer her up and make her life better any way they can. One day while climbing a hollow tree on their property, Anna falls in – the equivalent of a three-story fall. It takes three hours to pull her out. She’s rushed to the hospital and treated. It turns out that she’s bloodied and bruised, but otherwise unharmed – and her incurable condition is gone! Her doctor in Boston calls it “spontaneous remission” (the medical term for what they can’t otherwise explain).
Anna explains that while in the tree, she came out of her body and spoke with God, and she was told she would be healed. Needless to say, Anna becomes a big news story. Her mother makes a speech in church about having faith and seeing the miracles all around you. She even quotes Albert Einstein’s famous statement that you can live as if everything is a miracle or you can live as if nothing is a miracle.
The story of Anna Beam will make you cry, make you smile, and inspire you. There are many important things that we can draw from it.
First, always have faith. Jesus told us that faith “the size of a mustard seed” can move mountains. It certainly did for this little girl. The simple, quiet faith that all is well is self-fulfilling. It is an attitude that can eliminate the incurable, that can change any condition. We know that the use of the Law of Mind, in faith, can change conditions. Anna Beam serves as a reminder of that.
Second, be aware of the good around you. Angela, the waitress, is a miracle to the Beams. So many others who, as Christy Beam says, “barely touch our lives” are miracles waiting to happen.
And that brings us to the third point. A Course in Miracles says it well: “miracles are natural. If they are not occurring, something has gone wrong.” What are the miracles occurring in your life today? What miracles occurred in your life recently? Be aware of them and be thankful that miracles really are all around us. If you don’t believe it, ask Anna and Christy Beam.
This is a terrific movie that will touch your heart. It’s one of the best movies I’ve seen lately. Go see it and be inspired.
In the late 1990s, there was an article about George Lucas, the creator of Star Wars, in the New York Times Magazine. In the accompanying photo, he is shown in front of a bookcase, alongside one of his children. His son is dressed as a Jedi warrior. There is only one title that can be clearly read in the bookcase: The Science of Mind by Ernest Holmes. So it’s no wonder that in the new Star Wars movie, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, we are told that “The Force is in and around all living beings.”
Suzanne and I recently went to see this movie. I should tell you that it’s a bit on the long side, but it is gripping, so you really don’t notice.
Without revealing too much plot, I’d like to discuss a couple of points I saw in the movie. The basic premise is that thirty years after the destruction of the last Death Star and the collapse of the Galactic Empire, the ashes of the Empire have given rise to an even more dangerous group known as the First Order. Meanwhile, Luke Skywalker, one of the last remaining Jedi, has disappeared after a failure in training one of his classes of Jedi students. General Leia Organa (the Princess of the destroyed planet Alderaan) sends her best pilot, Poe Dameron, to find Luke.
As Poe tries to carry out this mission, he encounters an escaped First Order storm trooper, FN-2187, whom he calls Finn. Dameron’s droid, BB-8, has part of the map to where Luke is. When Finn and Poe crash, with Finn the only apparent survivor, BB-8 attaches himself to a scavenger on the planet Jakku named Rey. Neither Finn nor Rey really wants to get involved in the Resistance. Finn just wants to escape the First Order and Rey just wants to go back to scavenging on Jakku.
Eventually, the First Order comes after Rey and BB-8, who escape in an old, poorly maintained ship called the Millennium Falcon. It gets swallowed up by another ship, piloted by Han Solo and Chewbaca. The four of them set out to find Luke.
There is a tribute to the original Star Wars bar scene, when Han decides to visit an old friend, saloon keeper Maz Kanata, who has a light saber in a box that calls to Rey. It is the light saber belonging to the legendary Jedi master Luke Skywalker. Of course, Rey runs, but eventually, she cannot get away from the power.
When she is captured by the First Order, lead storm trooper Kylo Ren (in the black Darth Vader suit) attempts to force the information on Luke’s whereabouts out of her. He reports to the Supreme Leader that “she is strong in The Force – untrained but stronger than she knows.” (Wait until you find out Kylo Ren’s identity – it’s as surprising a Darth Vader’s was.)
Eventually, Finn and Rey, along with Poe Dameron, Han Solo, and Chewie, find themselves in the middle of things as they search for Han’s good friend and brother in law. The First Order keeps attempting to capture or kill them.
R2D2, who has been inactive since Luke disappeared, connects with BB-8 and discovers that he carries valuable information, which is greatly helpful to the Resistance forces (the Republic) in their efforts to find Luke.
It seems that Poe, Finn, Rey, and R2D2 are all called to step up when their moment demands it. Rey is called by the lightsaber; R2D2 is called by the awareness that his service and information are of value. BB-8, Finn, and even Han all have their moments when they must step it up.
What does this teach us? Well, for one thing, each of the characters comes to a crossroads and learns to step into his or her greatness. Each is called at some point and even if they try to run, they cannot get away from their mission. Similarly, we are called to fulfill our work in life and step into our greatness.
We must do what we are called to do, whether it’s writing, music, ministry, parenthood, or anything else. If we do not, it keeps following us. We can’t get away from it. As I like to say, your calling will keep calling until you answer. Commit to being who you are called to be and you just might lift up the world. You will be the channel for Right Action, and the world needs what you have to give. We don’t all have to save the world from evil empires, but we all have something important to do.
When you work with The Force (or whatever else you choose to call the Allness, the One), you can achieve greatness and though your path may contain numerous hazards and obstacles, focusing on what we must do smooths the way. And of course, it is much easier when we remember that It is “in and around all living things.” Including you and me.
You will likely enjoy this movie very much, and keep an eye out for the metaphysical metaphors that abound in the movie.
It’s that time again. On Thursday, December 3, NBC will be presenting The Wiz Live (8 PM Eastern). The Wiz is a product of that period in the 1970s when Broadway was producing “all-black” versions of everything. It is an urban, African-American version of The Wizard of Oz. The show gave us the popular song “Ease On Down the Road”.
In a nice casting touch, Stephanie Mills, who originated the role of Dorothy in the 1975 Broadway cast, will be playing Auntie Em. The production will also feature Queen Latifah as the first female Wiz.
By now, the plot should be familiar to most readers. When we first encounter Dorothy, she’s wishing to get out of Kansas and see distant places. Auntie Em is telling her that she has everything she needs right where she is. Then a tornado blows through and suddenly Dorothy and her dog Toto find themselves not in Kansas. The house lands on the Wicked Witch of the East, killing her and freeing the Munchkins from her power.
Addaperle, the Good Witch of the North, shows up. Dorothy just wants to get home, and Addaperle suggests that her best bet is to go see the Wizard. She gives Dorothy the Witch of the East’s shoes and tells her not to take them off because they carry a powerful magic.
As she sets off down the Yellow Brick Road to the Emerald City of Oz, she encounters a Scarecrow who is looking for a brain, a Tin Man who is looking for a heart, and a Cowardly Lion who is looking for courage. Eventually, they make their way to the gates of the Emerald City. They are admitted to see the Wiz because Dorothy is wearing the shoes of the Wicked Witch of the East. The Wizard agrees to give them the things they are looking for if they kill the Wicked Witch of the West (named Evilene in this version).
As they approach Evilene’s realm, she sends her Winged Monkeys to kill them. They destroy Scarecrow and Tin Man and they bring Dorothy and the Lion to the castle, where they and Toto are forced to do menial work and Evilene tortures Toto and the Lion in front of Dorothy. Finally, Dorothy throws water at the Wicked Witch and she melts. This frees the Winged Monkeys from the witch’s spell and they restore Scarecrow and Tin Man to their prior states.
They return to the Emerald City, where the Wizard reneges on the promise made. The screen that hides the Wiz is overturned and the Wizard is exposed. The Wiz confesses that he (in this production, she) is just a balloonist from Kansas who drifted to Oz by accident and they made him Wizard. The Scarecrow, The Tin Man, and the Lion are given symbols of what they are seeking.
The Wiz takes off for Kansas, but Dorothy misses the balloon. Addaperle appears, suggesting that Dorothy ask Glinda, The good Witch of the South, for help getting home. They are transported to Glinda’s palace. Glinda tells Dorothy that the shoes have always had the power to take her home, but that she had to believe it for it to work. “The magic is in you.” Dorothy bids farewell to her companions, clicks her heels three times, and returns home.
What do we learn from this? Well, for one thing, what you ask for, you get. Dorothy wants to see distant places, and she gets to see Oz. Then she wants to go home, and she winds up back at home in Kansas.
The Scarecrow, the Tin Man, and the Cowardly Lion receive symbols that remind them that they had the things they were looking for all along, but didn’t recognize them. They had to be shown that they possessed these qualities. But during their adventure, Scarecrow demonstrates his brains, Tin Man demonstrates his heart, and the Lion demonstrates his courage. All you need and all you’re seeking is already there, waiting to be recognized.
And finally, there is the magic of the shoes. To activate the magic in you, you must believe. But as Dorothy learns, the magic is in you. Will you recognize it? What will you do with that magic? In Dorothy’s case, it takes her home – both physically and in the metaphysical sense of being where you belong, where Divine Order is playing out in your life. And Dorothy recognizes the blessing of home.
And there is no place like home. In every sense of the word.
Suzanne and I went to see The Peanuts Movie. (Yes, we like kids’ movies. They often contain metaphysics. I have long said that one of my very favorite metaphysical movies is the 1971 Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.) I love Peanuts, so this movie appealed to me.
The Peanuts Movie centers around Charlie Brown’s pursuit of The Little Red-Haired Girl, with a delightful subplot regarding Snoopy’s latest novel, in which he, as The World War One Flying Ace, is chasing a female canine flying ace named Fifi. Fifi gets shot down by the Red Baron and Snoopy, of course, has to rescue her. There are many funny Peanuts complications to that and he just misses several times before he manages to bring Fifi back to safety on his doghouse Sopwith Camel, to the cheers of his crew (Woodstock and his bird friends).
Meanwhile, we have Charlie Brown’s situation. The movie opens in the winter with all the kids playing hockey, except Charlie Brown, who, on a snow day, is still trying to get that kite in the air. If you know Peanuts, you know how that goes. Lucy is showing off her figure skating.
All of this is interrupted by a moving van. The name of the moving company is a bit of an inside joke. (See if you pick up on it.) It turns out that a new family is moving in across the street from Charlie Brown. Their daughter, of course, is The Little Red-Haired Girl.
Charlie Brown tries many things to impress her. He tries to learn to dance and has some impressive moves before disaster strikes. He draws her as a book report partner, finds out that she’s away for the weekend, seeks out “the best novel”, and winds up with War and Peace. Somehow, he manages to read it in a weekend and writes a report. The first draft is typically plain: “This report is about War and Peace. First there was war. Then there was peace.” When that report gets destroyed and Charlie Brown has to start all over again, he writes what Linus calls “the finest piece of literary analysis I have ever read.” Of course, it gets hilariously destroyed, leaving Charlie Brown in desperation.
A few more embarrassing complications ensue in his pursuit of The Little Red-Haired Girl. Finally, we arrive at the last day of school. Everyone is to select a pen pal for the summer. They draw names and when Charlie Brown’s name is drawn, nobody wants to be his pen palt. Finally, one student speaks up: “I’ll do it.” It’s The Little Red-Haired Girl. So Charlie Brown works up the courage to go over and speak to her (and return her chewed-up pencil), only to find that she’s heading to summer camp. (Doesn’t it figure?)
He finds her at the bus and asks her why she chose him, the clumsy, incompetent, inept blockhead. She says she doesn’t see him that way, citing the dance, the book report, and a few other things. He hands her her pencil, which she has been looking all over for, and she gets on the bus, promising to write him.
What do we learn? Well, persistence pays. Charlie Brown is so focused and persistent in his pursuit of The Little Red-Haired Girl that he does things he wouldn’t ordinarily have tried to do. As a result, who he really is comes shining through. Also, Snoopy’s dedication in his pursuit of Fifi ultimately wins the day.
And we learn to look at ourselves through new eyes and see the best. All the kids view Charlie Brown as a loser and a blockhead, but The Little Red Haired Girl sees him differently, and her view encourages Charlie Brown to see himself differently.
And of course, through both Fifi and The Little Red-Haired Girl, we see the power of love. Love is a great driver to make us reach higher and farther.
Oh – and stick around for the closing credits, not just to see how very many people it took, but for Meghan Trainor’s song that runs under the credits, “Good to Be Alive”. The lyrics are quite upbeat and positive, very much in tune with our philosophy. (You can read them at http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/meghantrainor/goodtobealive.html)
All in all, this is a delightful day at the movies with a sweet, humorous, metaphysical tinge. I highly recommend that you get some good popcorn and reacquaint yourself with the Peanuts gang.