WalterLongThe Ground of Faith
Exploring Science, Mysticism and Experience Together

February 2009
Editors: The Rev. Michael Cocks and The Rev. Victor MacGill

"To seek God and to let oneself be found by Him"

Contents

Editor:

How would psychic research help both Conservative and Liberal Christians?

Articles

To seek God and let oneself be found by him

Bear with the Editor as he chases his tail.

Three wishes

The Spiritual Walk

Robert F. Worth on a new generation of television preachers in the Muslim world.

ASPSI An “Interview” with Professor Robert Hare

ASPSI Make Dr Death your friend in 2009: Mike Tymn

Other relevant e-journals, blogs and publications

SurvivalAfterDeath.org.uk

Public Parapsychology

Review of Soul Shift: Finding Where the Dead Go by Mark Ireland.

http://www.afterlifedata.com/

http://www.near-death.com/

Victor Zammit's Weekly Treasure Trove

Electronic Voice and Instrumental Communication:

Book Reviews

Mike Tymn: The articulate dead: They brought the spirit world alive

A tribute to Mike Tymn: Michael Cocks

James Stuart: The John Wesley Code

Review by Nate Cull

Theologica Germanica by Nate Cull

From our readers

Elliot Benjamin PhD: An experiential study of mediums and life after death

Ingrid Irwin: a new forum called "The EVP/ITC Research & Development Forum of Australasia"

Sjoerd Bonting: A dissenting voice

Editor:

How would psychic research help both Conservative and Liberal Christians?

Let's consider psychic research from the points of view of conservative and liberal Christians. How would it help them, if they were to take it seriously, and allowed it to influence their thinking and feeling?

The conservative can retreat behind the ramparts of the Holy Scriptures to find truth about the spiritual. It is spiritual truth, truth about reality because it is in the Bible.. or the Koran.. or the Vedas.. or whichever holy book. Spiritual truth, truth about reality, may well be found in these books. The problem is that we have chosen to regard this or that holy book as infallible, and then claimed infallibility for our own interpretations of the holy book. Our weakness is that we cannot say why the Bible is infallible, and why Moslems are wrong in claiming infallibility for the Koran. But if we came out from behind our ramparts, we would find that psychic research affirms the reality of an afterlife, the reality of Spirit, the reality of healing miracles, the reality of inspiration, the importance of a life lived in the Spirit, the reality of love at the basis of all things.. and much more. We might be the more able to refrain from judging the beliefs of others, and the more able to to agree with John Wesley in claiming that the grace and love of God is available to all humanity, regardless of their beliefs. We would see open minded science as our friend and not our enemy.

What is in it for some liberal Christians? The Christians who have doubts about the value of much Scripture, who are uncertain about an afterlife, while affirming the centrality of love of God and neighbour; some of these Christians have shared company with Materialists who retreat behind the ramparts of Cynicism about the existence of non-material reality, and are affected by it. They would make the same discoveries as the conservatives, their faith would be deepened, they would feel more at one with the conservatives.

Psychic research of course is a science, and investigates the nature of things. It discovers aspects of reality that may assist us as we think about Jesus' teaching about the Kingdom of Heaven. You may be interested in re-reading our issue of August 2005  where we were considering psychic research and the Kingdom of Heaven. In our April issue we hope to provide further material to help us in our thoughts.  In the mean time, we have to accept that this is a journal with numbers of contributors with differing points of view:  and we are not in a position to present a fully coherent picture of reality.

After you have read Pope Benedict's address below, you will find that I have more to say under the heading "Bear with the editor as he chases his tail."

Articles

 

Pope2"To seek God and to let oneself be found by Him" : Benedict XVI

Exactly two years after Regensburg, another grand discourse from Pope Joseph Ratzinger to the intellectual world. In Paris, at the Collège des Bernardins, September 12, 2008. 
 "Quaerere Deum" – to seek God and to let oneself be found by him, that is today no less necessary than in former times. A purely positivistic culture which tried to drive the question concerning God into the subjective realm, as being unscientific, would be the capitulation of reason, the renunciation of its highest possibilities, and hence a disaster for humanity, with very grave consequences. What gave Europe’s culture its foundation – the search for God and the readiness to listen to him – remains today the basis of any genuine culture.  Read the rest of the Pope's address

Bear with the Editor as he chases his tail

One of our panel was unhappy with an earlier draft of this issue, in that it seemed to give no hint as to how psychic research should be regarded from a Christian perspective, and indeed that it seemed view psychic research as on an equal footing to, and even superior to Christianity.   I accept his criticisms as being entirely reasonable.  (And I get readers to let me know of criticisms, for they are mightily helpful  in producing a journal of better service to the church.)  But in a pluralistic world, with  materialists, and a much fractured Christendom,  with challenges from Islam, and other faiths, how are we to relate psychic research to our varying theological belief systems?  The Pope, with regard to the early Christians, said, "The universality of God, and of reason open towards him, is what gave them the motivation—indeed, the obligation—to proclaim the message. They saw their faith as belonging, not to cultural custom that differs from one people to another, but to the domain of truth, which concerns all people equally."
I consider that we should regard this journal as for those who "seek God and let themselves be found by him ".   Amongst those who seek God, there are people of opposing theological beliefs, and people of varying personality types. There is no way in which we can tailor the data of the science of psychic research to be of use to all people. Therefore we need to come to this journal with our varying understandings and experiences of seeking God and being found by him, and  taking in what we find speaks to us, while ignoring what does not.  Psychic research may or may not produce data belonging 'to the domain of truth, which concerns all people equally'.  
Similarly, when we hear from Nate Cull, Robert Worth, and Mike Tymn,  we are in effect reading their personal testimonies as seekers after God.  Depending on our point of view, we may or may not find what they write edifying.
As I said at the beginning, I have great sympathy with the feelings of the member of our panel.  I have taken heed of his words,  and have found the words of Pope Benedict to be helpful in this regard.

three wishesThree wishes:  Nate Cull

1. I wish that I lived in a world where everyone could literally see and know God; where that God existed, and that the nature of that God was pure love, was no more strange or confusing than that there is a sun in the sky.
2. I wish that I lived in a world where everyone looked after each other; where our life and work and economy and industry the geometry of our cities was structured toward the goal of doing meaningful things to help each other.
3. I wish that I would live as if I lived in such a world right now.   Read on

 The Spiritual Walk

ASPSI by Walter R. Long, M.A., M.A., H.M.T.

WalterLongIs it enough to be psychic? Is it enough to be mediumistic? Or a healer? Or an empath? Each of things is a spiritual skill. Reading someone’s mind is a spiritual skill. And being able to see someone’s spirit guides would certainly prompt most people to call you spiritual! But it is possible, for example, to be a great medium, and not have your own personal life in order! There is another side to being spiritual, and it is what I call the spiritual walk. Read the article

Editors' note: Churches of course, provide faith communities and contexts in which we develop our relationships to the Divine, to our fellows, and to Life. The danger with our journal, is that in focusing on what is we may lose sight of the lives in Spirit that we should hope to live. Thus, the value of Walter Long's contribution.

StephenSt Stephen discusses the question: what it means to be Christian

[We were questioning the trance-personality of Stephen the Martyr through the mediumship of Thomas Ashman.]It was asked, and many felt troubled, the question, What is a Christian? You have even asked this, this night. Perhaps if I answered this question for you, it may answer many questions you may wish to ask.
“Christian” being the name that defines the pursuit of what is Christ. The example of the successful pursuit was in our Lord, who indeed was the Christ.   Therefore, a Christian in the terms that you wish to think, or indeed in the terms in which you should think, should be defined as
  “Any cell, each and any part of the continuous self, which acts in  a like manner (in pursuit of what is Christ)” - whether it is called Christian, “yellow” or “rain”, is immaterial.
For to be Christian is to be conscious,
not of separateness, but to be conscious as part of the Whole.
Read on

 Robert F. Worth on a new generation of television preachers in the Muslim world.

Bryan Denton for The New York Times

ahmedThe Saudi preacher Ahmad al-Shugairi  produces a show “Khawater.” It runs daily during Ramadan

Over two hours, he worked the crowd as masterfully as any preacher, drawing rounds of uproarious laughter and, as he recalled the Prophet Muhammad’s death, silent tears. He spoke against sectarianism. He made pleas for women to be treated as equals. He talked about his own life — his seven wild years in California, his divorce, his children — and gently satirized Arab mores. Read this article from the NEW YORK TIMES


ASPSI An “Interview” with Professor Robert Hare  by Michael E. Tymn

hare Abstract: This “interview” with Professor Robert Hare, one of the first psychical researchers, is based on his actual words as set forth in his 1855 book, Experimental Investigation of the Spirit Manifestations. Except for words in brackets, added to permit a flow or transition, the words are verbatim from the book. The questions have been tailored to fit the answers.

The author of more than 150 papers on scientific subjects, Professor Robert Hare (January 17, 1781 to May 15, 1858), the son of an English emigrant, was a world-renowned inventor and an esteemed professor of chemistry at the University of Pennsylvania before becoming one of the first psychical researchers. Only John W. Edmonds, a New York Supreme Court judge, seems to have preceded Hare as a serious and dedicated psychical researcher. Read the “interview”

ASPSI Make Dr Death your friend in 2009: 
                                                                     Mike Tymn

If you haven't already made a New Year's Resolution, let me suggest one: Make death your friend, your daily companion. Rather than thinking of death as the Grim Reaper, imagine "him" or "her" as Dr. Death, the greatest and wisest teacher and healer you'll ever have.

"Ridiculous," you say? If so, you're taking issue with some great thinkers. The eminent Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung said that it is psychologically beneficial to have death as a goal toward which to strive. Mozart called death the key to unlocking the door to true happiness. Shakespeare wrote that when we are prepared for death, life is sweeter. The French philosopher Michel de Montaigne said that "to practice death is to practice freedom." Essentially, what they all say is that in understanding death, we come to understand life and better enjoy it. Read the article.


Other relevant e-journals, blogs and publications

SurvivalAfterDeath.org.uk

survival

We strongly recommend this site, as a source of much interesting material.

- www.SurvivalAfterDeath.org.uk


 Public Parapsychology

Review of Soul Shift: Finding Where the Dead Go by Mark Ireland.

Editors' notes: Public Parapsychology is one of an increasing number of web sites that we should be aware of.. and subscribe to. Try this url: http://publicparapsychology.blogspot.com

Public Parapsychology welcomes guest reviewer, Rosemarie Pilkington in her first contribution to the site. Below is her review of Soul Shift: Finding Where the Dead Go, by Mark Ireland.

Mark Ireland is the son of the gifted psychic/medium Dr. Richard Ireland, who amazed and entertained thousands in churches, halls and on television with his prodigious gifts in the 1960’s through the 80’s. Although he was an entertainer, Dr. Ireland was also a minister who tried through his psychic demonstrations to spread the message, "there is no death and there are no dead."

Mark, although he learned much from his father,....   read on

http://www.afterlifedata.com/

The Largest Database of Afterlife Description & Analysis on the Internet

“This web site is a compilation of information on the afterlife and other related critical concepts, such as the purpose of life and reincarnation, as they relate to souls here on earth. We have not created this site to convince anyone of the validity of this information, we simply invite you to read through the data, explore the sources we have used and visit other sources to learn more. Using spirit sources from Afterlife101.com and respected authors like Michael Newton, Allan Kardec, Jane Roberts and others, the results of our first investigations reveal 94.8% agreement on a variety of very specific topics. We believe this web site contains the largest correlation of spirit communications about the afterlife, all from respected sources, available anywhere. We will continue to expand this data as information is made available to us and our research expands.”

http://www.near-death.com/

WilliamsClick http://www.near-death.com/ for hours of fascinating reading

Greetings! My name is Kevin Williams and I am the owner and webmaster of this website. Over the years, an increase in the public interest in near-death experiences (NDEs) has helped make this website very popular on the internet. My goal is to transform this website into the "Grand Central Station of NDEs." My mission is to help connect people with information and resources concerning NDEs and NDE research for the purpose of understanding death and thereby understanding life in a way that brings tremendous joy and love.

For people who want to know a little bit about me, I say, "Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!" All joking aside, here is how I describe myself: middle-aged, computer scientist, cable news junkie, manic depressive, universalist Christian with Gnostic and Tibetan Buddhist leanings, former Montana cowboy, U.S. Army veteran, social liberal, economic conservative, single Californian, internet addict, and last but not least, NDE evangelist. I am also the author of "Nothing Better Than Death" on the subject of NDEs. Continue reading

Read also http://www.near-death.com/experiences/reincarnation08.html A long list of extraordinary coincidences between the lives of Abraham Lincoln and John Kennedy.

Editors' note: As open-minded Christians, I hold that we should never avert our eyes from experience which “may not be Scriptural.” That would be intellectual suicide. The interpretation of experience however must always be open to debate. The esteemed Methodist writer, Leslie Weatherhead, wrote a book entitled “The Christian Agnostic.” He interprets “reincarnation” in terms of The Communion of the Saints, or the Body of Christ. As living or departed members of this Communion, this Body, we share the experiences of each other, and there will be people of the past, present, and future, whose experiences are especially connected with our own. On page 299 he writes that "it was accepted by the early church for the first five hundred years of its existence. Only in AD 553 did the Second Council of Constantinople reject it, and only then by a narrow majority. If some view of reincarnation had not been widely held in the early church it would have been pointless to discuss it in a church council." We may well find Weatherhead's views of interest. Nevertheless, our first preoccupation should be to establish the details and the reality of the supposed experience. This first, and interpretation later.

ZammitVictor Zammit's Weekly Treasure Trove

Visit the archives of Victor Zammit's weekly newsletter at http://www.victorzammit.com/archives/index.html  for hours of  fascinating reading.  When you open this website you have the opportunity to request that these emails be sent to you every week, something that we strongly recommend.

Electronic Voice and Instrumental Communication:

http://www.youtube.com/user/ITCdeadpeople 

Downey ITC - Geoff Daner & AAEVP featured on Maury

AA-EVPWhitePaper.pdf
http://evp-itc-australia.org/home.html

Book Reviews

articulatedeadMike Tymn: The articulate dead: They brought the spirit world alive

During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, there were dynamic and evidential forms of spirit communication. A number of distinguished scientists and scholars studied some of the best mediums and concluded they were genuine. Unfortunately, there were also many charlatans and it was difficult for the general public to distinguish between the real mediums and the frauds. Scientific and religious fundamentalists along with a cynical press, were constantly on the attack, driving the genuine mediums underground or forcing them to abandon their gift.

In The Articulate Dead, Michael E. Tymn examines several of the best mediums of yesteryear and the scientific research surrounding them. A number of very intriguing stories unfold, including spirits directing an archaeologist in the uncovering of the ruins of Glastonbury Abbey, spirits leading a researcher to crosses buried by American Indians, a deceased author completing his books through a medium, a Titanic victim coming back to tell about his new environment, and an afterlife researcher continuing his work after dying, to name just a few.

Order from Amazon: and click this Amazon link to read further great reviews of the book:

http://www.galdepress.com/books/paranormal/articulatedead.html

A tribute to Mike Tymn: Michael Cocks

What Mike Tymn has been doing for a considerable time, is to present the history and process of psychic research in a vivid, clear, and persuasive way. He write imaginary “interviews” with the great investigators of the past, drawing their “replies” from their own writings. He is trained as a journalist, and he is great at telling the Story both of paranormal events of the past, and of the thinking of the often eminent investigating scientists. Mike helps us to be clear about the thought of these scientists; without his help this material would stay imprisoned in hard to find and out of print books. Guess why we quote his work so much in this journal! It is partly the balance between case history and theory that is so good. The case history grips our feelings and imagination, and there is sufficient theory to help us think about the case history. There is no one else in the field of psychic research with quite these gifts that he employs.

He is vice-president of the Academy of Spirituality and Paranormal Studies Inc. as well as producing one of the Academy's journals. What is so good about the Academy, from the point of view of The Ground of Faith, is that it is serious about investigating the nature of spiritual-physical reality, produces good thinking about it, and is concerned, (as this journal is) about how it relates to our spiritual development in our faith communities or churches. They deserve wide support, and many more people should become active participators in their work. Their slogan: “The mission of the Academy of Spirituality and Paranormal Studies, Inc. is to discern, develop and disseminate knowledge of how paranormal phenomena may relate to and enhance the development of the human spirit.” See www.aspsi.com

Read a further review, or order the book

TymnAbout the author: A resident of Kailua, Hawaii, Michael E. Tymn is vice-president of the Academy of Spirituality and Paranormal Studies, Inc., and editor of the Academy's quarterly magazine, The Searchlight. He has been a freelance journalist for more than 50 years. His articles on paranormal subjects have appeared in FATE, Mysteries, Nexus, Atlantis Rising, Christian Parapsychologist, Vital Signs, Venture Inward, Two Worlds, Dark Lore, Alternatives, and The Honolulu Advertiser.

James Stuart: The John Wesley Code

http://www.pgpl.co.nz/current_books/bkwesley_code.html

Review by Nate Cull

 wesleycodejimstuartJames Stuart begins this biography of John Wesley with a personal account of accidentally discovering some of Wesley's personal books, lost and forgotten in a broom closet in Richmond College. He uses it as a metaphor for John Wesley's life: hugely influential in shaping the modern church, yet today largely forgotten.

Having read this book, I think I can agree.

John Wesley is one of the characters in church history that I've been vaguely aware of as an eighteenth century preacher, but I had no idea how powerful was the movement that he started, nor how much of a struggle it was to establish. I knew that he had been influenced by the Moravians, but not how and why he broke from them. I knew he had some connection with America, but not that his decision to ordain preachers in the face of Anglican excommunication after the American Revolution set the tone for the shape of American revivalism for centuries. I knew that he preached to the poor, but not that he set up medical clinics and published a medical manual, or that he created a 'community of common goods', a literal and voluntary socialism without bloodshed, decades before the storm clouds of the French Revolution came to a head. Read the whole review

Theologica Germanica: Nate Cull

A biography of John Wesley that I’ve just read noted some of the German Pietist influences of Wesley, which led me to Meister Eckhart and the Theologica Germanica (author unknown). Both of which I find very interesting, very modern, and hugely relevant to our times. There’s a direct line in terms of theological flavour from Course in Miracles, through Mary Baker Eddy, back to Eckhart. (To list just one of the many lines of faith which criss-cross over this landscape, but the Course in Miracles one is particularly close to my heart at the moment.)

Wesley, famously impressed by the quiet mystical spirituality of Count Zinzendorf’s Moravians, later broke with them because he could not accept their quietism. It seems he had similar issues with the Theologica Germanica.

http://natecull.org/wordpress/2009/01/16/theologica-germanica/

From our readers

Elliot Benjamin PhD: An experiential study of mediums and life after death

benjaminElliot Benjamin, Ph.D, is a mathematician, philosopher, musician, counselor, writer, and the author of over 50 published articles in the fields of pure mathematics, mathematics education, spirituality & the awareness of cult dangers, and art & mental disturbance. He has also written a number of self-published books, including "Numberama: Recreational Number Theory In The School System," Modern Religions: An Experiential Analysis And Expose'," and "Art And Mental Illness". He can be contacted at ben496@prexar.com. Read this study

Ingrid Irwin: a new forum called "The EVP/ITC Research & Development Forum of Australasia"

was forwarded your newsletter & found it of great interest.

I thought I would like to let you know that a new forum called "The EVP/ITC Research & Development Forum of Australasia" has been formed to cover the increasing interest in EVP/ITC in Australia & New Zealand. The Link is: http://austevp.com/

The forum is a membership basis for any one interested in EVP/ITC research or has a curiousity of what it is all about. We felt it was time that Australia & New Zealand should start to 'stand on their own two feet' and have a forum inwhich individuals of these countries could come together and share their interest. I thought it maybe of interest to your members to know about the forum.

 Many Thanks,

Ingrid Irwin. Msc.D CP

Critical Comments by Sjoerd L. Bonting

Editor's note:  Professor Bonting and I do not always agree, but we are much indebted to him for really caring that this journal is useful, challenging our thought, and in fact his comments have stimulated important improvements in this issue. If there were others who challenged in a similar way, that would be a great gift.  It is the case that our journal is not directly Christian, since science and  psychical research cannot be other than it is, and not all experiences can be classified as Christian.  Nevertheless it can perhaps inform our Christianity, just as does science in general. 

       My understanding was that the aim of "Ground of Faith" is to investigate psychic phenomena and the findings of psychic research from a Christian perspective. 
   
    However, I am disappointed about the direction the journal is taking. I explain my feelings in brief comments on three articles in the February issue.

    The article by Walter Long reminds me of the so-called spirituality that today is rampant in the Netherlands among the unchurched. It aims at self-improvement without any reference to God. Long's recommended walk is not in the Spirit, but in our own spirit.
   
    In "Make Dr. Death your friend in 2009" Mike Tymn suggests that by reminding ourselves of our death we shall learn more about our surviving consciousness, something that Christian teaching doesn't provide in his opinion. He neglects that Jesus' key message is that of the coming new kingdom and that we should live our earthly lives in that expectation, rather than dwell on our impending death.
       
    Mark Ireland's "Soul Shift" spreads his father's message "there is no death and there are no dead," but again without any reference to the Christian message about death and the life after death.
   
    Nowhere in the issue do I find a description of some psychic research study. There are only assertions, no analysis. The relevance to Christian thinking is never touched upon.
 An outstanding favourable exception for me is the Stephen encounter of Michael Cocks.   
    Might it not be a good idea to publish an article on the possible relevance of psychic research to the Christian religion? And perhaps an article on the possible undesirable effects of indulging in psychic phenomena?


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