Doug, by the will of God, to the church of God which is on the web, with all the saints who are in the whole of the world: Grace to you and peace from God our Father. Blessed be the God and Father of us all, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in our entire affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.
Yes, there are countless variations claiming to be gospel, good news of revelation and joy. None available for purchase are more than that: a source of income to the printer and their translators. For they suffer on the trinity: Time adulterates all things, translations fail to capture the whole essence, and individuals only see what they are looking to find. Anyone who tells you the word of the Almighty Father is solely in the Holy Scriptures does not see the Holy hand’s impact on the creation. By limiting themselves to textual documents alone, they encounter the vastness of the majestic opera by looking at the brochure alone. How is it that words, however inspired, can compare to the performance itself?
Yet more! Once words are stuck together, even in our gospel, they begin to wither and age. Language is alive and ever changing to stay current with the times. Ideas set down to words are taken on a path away from their author’s meaning. The words take on new meanings the author did not predict or intend. How then, can I hope to be understood to our grandchildren and their grandchildren? Do we change the words to more closely reflect the new meanings of the message or do we keep the same letters and expect our descendants to know the original usage?
We talk in a common tongue, one we both think we understand. Each word choice brings nuances and room for misinterpretation. Imagine how great the understanding changes when we look for other words with their nuances as we look to find ways to translate it into a different language? If our language has one word for a concept, and the language being translated into has dozens, who chooses the new language's word with the associated nuances being added or dropped?
Read alone, a reader can easily skim over the harder passages. Hard, because they are confusing or don't align with the reader's presumptions. Perhaps hard, because the meaning is lost to them. We often break ideas apart and gravitate to that which makes us feel best, ignoring what doesn't.
What, then, can we do? I am as guilty as anyone. For I would have you know, brothers and sisters, that the gospel which was first preached by me is man’s gospel. For you have heard of my former life, how I persecuted all religions violently and tried to destroy each follower’s beliefs; and I advanced in knowledge beyond many of my own. When Elders came to my door, I opposed them to their face, because they were not on my path. But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of their gospel, I said to you before them all, “If you, though a codling, live like a Gentile and not like a true follower, how can you compel the Gentiles to live like us?”
But when the Almighty who had set this course for me before I was born, and had called me through His grace, in order that I might preach Him among the people on the web, I did not confer with flesh and blood, nor did I go up to Galacia to those who were apostles before me, but I went away into Iran; and again, I returned to the country of my home. Then, after more than seven years in Iran, I went up to the north fields of Mount Hermon to study, and remained there three years. I read the early writings and listened to the nuance of that early day. I listened to the holy teachers who, too, saw the cliffs and chasms along the path.
Along this journey, my eyes were opened. The divine scriptures became known. For I did not receive it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through a revelation. Its very essence is of the same substance of God. In its refined form, the message is one of love: “Love Unconditionally”.
So, then I say unto you, the path you walk is a fine one. Follow in faith that which you have been instructed, ever watching for self-imposed contradictions. The laws we have received are but behavioral examples of the choices we make based on our faith. We do not take from others nor demand unfairly, not because of the law, but because of our generosity and our recognition that our Lord would want us to be grateful for what we already have. We do not kill or lie for the sake of avoidance of any punishment. Instead, we denounce these actions because we love that which God has created.
But more, my Brothers and Sisters, if a person is overtaken in any trespass; you who are spiritual should restore them in a spirit of gentleness. Look to yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the will of God.
Peace and mercy be upon all who walk by this rule, upon the realm of God. Henceforth let no one trouble me; for I bear on my body the marks of my past. The grace of our Lord be with your spirit, my friend. Amen.