Victory

By: Woodrow Odom Lucas

To see the smiles on my daughters’ faces when they come into all the good that God has for them, is worth all the torment I have ever known.

To see a man with no hope, trapped in his mind, find his heart alive again, is worth every terror that Satan has whispered in my ear.

To see my ex-wife rewarded for her many sorrows in the bliss of holy matrimony once again, is worth every night I needed Ativan to have peace.

To see my brother achieve his dreams and leave his mark on this world, is worth every day I lived in fear.

To see my parents healthy and well and free of doubt, is worth every bit of loneliness I have ever experienced.

To look into the souls of my hurting brothers and sisters and convince them beyond a shadow of a doubt that God’s love for them is real and unending.

That is the reward that awaits me, for this hell that I have harrowed.

For no hell lasts forever, and even the worst of them always end in victory!

I am a Figment

By: Woodrow Lucas

I am a figment of another being’s imagination,

My existence is completely dependent on the reality of her dream,

Her ever changing narrative defines me and circumscribes me,

I am free, only in the liberty of the life that she conceives for me,

I am not, unless she is,

My entire life is a function of her heart, mind, and soul,

I am hers forever more, this mother God who breathes me through the beating rhythm of her consciousness.

I am hers forever more, this mother God who loves me fully and will never let me fade away.

Calvinism, Fertile ground for Universalism

By: Woodrow Odom Lucas

 

I have always thought that Calvinists would make great Universalists.  Calvinists are often totally surrendered to what they believe is the plan of God, and totally accepting of God’s will.  They often walk with a profound peace that comes from receiving the unconditional grace of God that one does not need to merit, but which is a free gift.

 

But my belief that Calvinists would make great universalists is based as much on how similar their beliefs are to Universalism as it is the fact that they often walk in the beautiful and loving character of Christ. Calvinists believe in 5 ideas that make the foundation for their doctrinal adherence.  They believe in Total Depravity, Unconditional Election, Limited Atonement, Irresistible Grace, and Perseverance of the Saints.

 

As we walk through each idea, I think it will become obvious how Universal Salvation emerges out of Calvinism, quite easily!!!  First of all, Calvinists believe in Total Depravity.  They believe that the nature of human beings is inherently evil, and that only the Grace of God can redeem us from our hellish selves.  This is granted, an extremely pessimistic way of viewing human nature with which I pointedly disagree, but it does lay the foundation for the notion that no one really deserves all that God has for them, and so our ultimate salvation is not up to us, but up to God.

 

Second, Calvinists believe in unconditional election.  So Calvinists believe that God randomly elects who will be saved at the beginning of all time and then separates out the elect from the non-elect through the predestined choice of faith in Christ.  Now in a sense, this is totally monstrous, the idea that God would just randomly assign one of her children to eternal torment.  But the idea of “election” is foundational.  If God can elect some, then why can’t God elect all?  If it is God’s will that all be saved, then why can’t God just elect all at the beginning of time. So to the extent that God elects all human beings, then election is foundational to Universalism.

 

Number three, Calvinists believe that Jesus was totally successful on the cross and that he achieved absolutely everything that he set out to achieve at Calvary.  As a consequence, they believe that he only atoned for some of humanity not all of humanity, because if he atoned for all and all did not get saved then he would in some sense have failed in his mission.  Now the whole notion of limited atonement defies almost everything written in scripture and must be apocryphal in nature.  But the idea that Jesus totally succeeded on the cross, is foundational to Universalism.  If Jesus really did succeed on the cross in dying for all of the sins of all of humanity, and his atonement was for all and not just some, then in truth karma, Justice, perfection before God, and the cries of evil principalities for eternal hell have all already been satisfied and the human suffering that still goes on is more about learning and redemption in the final analysis than punishment.

 

Fourth, Calvinists believe in irresistible grace.  Irresistible grace is the notion that God’s grace cannot be resisted by our human nature or consciousness.  In other words, if God wants you, then God is going to get you, no matter what.  This notion is not only true, but powerful.  There is no human being alive who can resist God’s love when they really feel it.  No one can say no to God when they are enraptured in her loving touch.  Now in this earthly realm, our senses are very dulled to God’s love.  But at least some people of all faiths, can witness to an ecstasy and a bliss that comes from communing with God that is like nothing we have ever experienced!!! Irresistible grace proves that all will one day turn to God, because in the final analysis her grace is irresistible and free will is only a limited concept.  How can a limited being have absolute free will?  Can I teleport to the moon at will?  No!! So I don’t have absolute free will, I have limited free will and that limited free will, is destined to one day feel the irresistible grace and love of God and choose to become one with her.

 

Lastly,  many people who come to belief in Jesus at some point in their lives do not maintain their faith in Jesus throughout their lives.  So Calvinists have a doctrine called Perseverance of the Saints, which maintains that the true elect never turn away from the faith.  So those who turn away from the faith, were never really saved to begin with.  Now this notion could lead to so much judgment and accusation in the body of Christ that one might question why I even mention it.  But the perseverance of the saints is the idea that in the end, even if it seems like a person has lost their faith, or gone astray, that there is something in them, a perseverance that will eventually figure it out.  So from a Universalist perspective, the perseverance of the saints simply means that we are all endowed with an indomitable will to repent and become what God wills for us to become, and that will always wins in the end.

 

I absolutely love Calvinists!! I think that they are among the most intellectual and thoughtful of Christians.  When I talk to them, I often come alive.  But now I see them as more than just possible people to pray and fellowship with.  I now see them as a mission field for Christian Universalism.  Because in truth, they already have the basics, they just need a little tweak here and there!! Namaste and God Bless!! Woody

 

My Christmas Gift This Year

By: Woodrow Odom Lucas

As a man on the cusp of middle age, I have a lot to be thankful for.  I have two great, renaissance type children who are always filling me with pride and joy. I have two really supportive parents.  I have a brother who both inspires and encourages me constantly.  I have lots of great friends.  I have a really supportive ex-wife who is about to get remarried, consequently adding excitement and new experiences to my life as well.  I am really sexy.  I have a tremendous job where I get to help people every day.  I am extremely intelligent.  I have one of the most tremendous testimonies of anyone I have ever met.  And I am pretty sure that God is about to give me arguably the hottest female that I have ever seen to be my next life partner.

 

But even with all of these blessings, I found a way to ask God for a Christmas gift again this year.  This year I asked God to give me full knowledge, wisdom, and understanding of my anatomy.  The human anatomy is one of the most profound mysteries on our planet.  From our biology, to our metaphysics, to our emotions, to our sexuality, we are such a puzzle?  For instance, according to science, it is the brain that it is the center of everything.  If the brain starts malfunctioning you can basically say, “Game Over” to any kind of fruitful experience in life.  And to be honest, I think science has a lot of merit to its arguments. As a person whose brain did start to malfunction, I can honestly say that a malfunctioning brain is definitely no picnic.  But science is not the only authority to consider in exploring what makes “us” us.  More modern spirituality claims that the heart is the true center of our person hood and is also our connection to God.  More modern spirituality claims that most of our issues stem from a disconnection from the heart, and becoming heart centered reflects a true rediscovery of health and wellness in all facets.  Jewish roots inform that our heart is actually in our stomach, and so the stomach is the point of most concern.  And then Christianity has any number of focal points, including the brain as mind, the heart as heart, and the stomach as will.  And then you have Eastern religion with its notions of Chakras and Chakra health and wellness in addition to the heart as being key aspects to our anatomy health and wellness.

 

In truth, it seems to me that maladies like Cancer, Aids, Mental Illness, and Diabetes would not be so rampant if we really had a knowledgeable consensus on what really constituted “us” as human beings.  So I will end this brief post with a request.  In this wondrous Christmas Eve, the Eve of the day that we celebrate the birth of our Messiah, Jesus Christ I ask that you join with me in praying that all of us get total and complete knowledge, wisdom, and understanding of our human anatomy once and for all.  In fact, here is a prayer that you can pray out loud tonight as you are wrapping those last minute gifts for tomorrow.  “Holy Mother-Father please give all human beings on the earth, total knowledge, wisdom, and understanding of our anatomies by tomorrow December 25th, of the year 2016, In Jesus Name, Amen.”  Well, may you have a fantastic Christmas and transcendent new year!!!

 

Sincerely,

 

Woodrow Lucas

The Best that We Can

By: Woodrow Odom Lucas

During my journey of healing from mental illness and demonic oppression, I have had the pleasure of encountered a system of psychological intervention termed, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy.  Dialectical Behavioral Therapy is an intervention first invented by a therapist who herself had mental and emotional difficulties.  It was first intended to treat Borderline Personality Disorder, but it is truly useful for any number of maladies.  DBT is complex, but part of its corpus are a set of principles that the patient or subject is to take a priori.  One such principle is the idea that all people, no matter what we see them doing, are “trying the best that they can.”  From Donald Trump to Hillary Clinton to Barack Obama to Elizabeth Warren, to homeless people on the street, to Wall Street profiteers, to racist police officers, to pedophiles, to child slave traffickers,  ALL OF US ARE TRYING THE BEST THAT WE CAN!!

 

Now at first I was offended by this notion that all of us as human beings are trying the best that we can.  At first, I thought, “That’s impossible!!”  Look at some of the heinous things that people do?!! How could they possibly be trying the best that they can.  But the more you ponder on the idea, the more you see that blindness and insanity and pain and anguish can bring about barriers to a person’s righteousness or beauty, even if they are deep down trying the best that they can.  But even now, as I try and defend the idea, I see that it is truly indefensible.  It just simply is.  Everyone in the world is trying the best that they can!! It is a fact.  And when we operate under this assumptive fact that everyone is trying the best that they can, we are freed up to love unconditionally as God loves us.  We are freed up to love without judgment.  We are freed up love with a positive regard that is unshakeable.  If you are a bit incredulous to what I am suggesting.  Try it for a week.  For one week, assume that everyone you know and come in contact with and everyone you hear about on the news is trying the best that they can.  I think you will be pleased with the results.

Namaste and God Bless!!  Woody

The Jujitsu Revelation Revisited-The Birth of the Santa Clause Blessing

By: Woodrow Lucas

Hello faithful readers of this blog,

A few days ago, I posted a post called the Jujitsu Revelation that I am quite proud of.  In this post, I really laud the influence that my ex-wife Machel Mills has had on me and I unequivocally declare that I still love her with all of my soul.  Well, a good friend of mine read the post, and intimated to me that it seemed like from the post that I was still in love with my ex-wife.  I found this very alarming, because I really don’t want anyone, especially my ex-wife, her boyfriend, or anyone that I might date to think that I am still in love with my ex-wife, because I am definitely not in love with my ex-wife.  There are several kinds of love that you can feel for a person.  You can feel Agape love, which is unconditional love.  You can feel Philos love which is friendship love.  And you can feel Eros love which is romantic love.  I can say beyond a shadow of a doubt, that I feel a whole heck of a lot of Agape love for my ex-wife and Philos love for my ex-wife, but absolutely no romantic love for my ex-wife whatsoever.

As I see the way that my ex-wife has prospered with her new boyfriend, it is obvious to me that while she and I definitely had something special, what she has with this new fella is really even more spectacular. I mean the two of them are like twins.  And they have an unspoken kinship that runs deeper than anything that I have ever seen.  I believe that my ex-wife is more suitably matched to her current partner than she ever was to me.  And I rejoice in that.  But that doesn’t take away the beauty that I shared with her.  And I believe that God wants me to always celebrate that beauty even if it manifests itself in much different ways post divorce than pre-divorce.

The way I see it, love should never die.  It is too special to die.  It just takes on other forms.  And maybe, I am just a little ahead of my time in the belief that my ex-wife and I can still have deep love for each other, even if that love is not romantic, and even if we are with new romantic partners.  But I would rather be ahead of my time and right, than with my time and operating in something less than beautiful.

When my ex-wife and I got divorced, God gave me a vision for our future which would retain the love that we had for each other.  We would become good friends, and then our new spouses would become good friends with each ex, and we would all become like one wonderful blended family.  This may seem farfetched.  But I told you in the Jujistu Revelation that I don’t think anything is too hard for God.  I call this wondrous blended family composition, replete with “ex-in laws” and the like, the Santa Clause Blessing, because it mimics the kind of relationships that Tim Allen ,his wife, his ex and Judge Reinhold had in the movies Santa Clause I, Santa Clause II, and Santa Clause III.  Now this might be a little narcissistic, but I kinda see myself as Tim Allen in this whole configuration.  And in truth, maybe my ex wife’s boyfriend, or my ex wife is more suitable for that role.  But I must confess that I have not fully transcended the ego, so for now, I am the Santa Clause in the Santa Clause Blessing!! LOL!!!

I encourage you, if you are divorced.  To quickly forgive your ex-spouse and cancel all debts that they owe you.  Seek to resurrect the love that you once felt for them.  And if it seems appropriate to reconcile, then reconcile, but if it seems maybe like both of you are better off with different partners, then pursue the Santa Clause Blessing!! It is work, that’s true!! But it is well worth it.  Because harmony is so comforting and beautiful it’s worth the work that goes into it!!!

Namaste, God Bless, and Love Always, Woody!!

From Tribes to Nations, Godly Cooperation in our Society

By: Woodrow Odom Lucas

The idea of tribes among peoples is a very ancient notion.  I believe that God intended for us to operate in tribes from the outset.  A tribe allows one to focus most of one’s love and energy on a certain group of people who share the same general space as one. However, I believe that God never intended for tribes to war against each other for goods and services, this is a perversion of God’s intent. God’s intent was that you would pray for and protect a small group of people, and show love towards others outside that group as circumstance required.  This is the notion of being kind to strangers.

As time has passed and society has evolved the idea of the tribe has become a more categorized sense of belonging and identity that revolves around religious affiliation, national origin, race, class, gender, and sexual preference.  These notions of organization are not problematic in and of themselves but when they are predicated on pride and competition, rather than mutual respect and cooperation then they become barriers to God’s will.

Whatever our forms of social organization, harmony, admiration, and cooperation are always the ends to be pursued.  And disharmony, war, and competitiveness are to be avoided.  So as we consider our world, full of atheists, Muslims, agnostics, African-Americans, Africans, Asians, Jews, Hindus, Indians, Native Americans, Caucasians, Methodists, Catholics, Pentacostals, Scientists, Preachers, and so many other categorical forms of organization and identity.  Let us remember that cooperation and admiration outside of our group, enhance everything that happens within our group.

So everlasting God, please bless faith and science to cooperate.   Bless the religions of the world to cooperate.  Let there be harmony between all of the nations and races of the world.  Let us Lord God, do as the bumper sticker says, “Coexist” for the alternative is not a future that any of us would choose if we saw it in concrete reality. In Jesus Name, Amen!!

The Jujitsu Revelation

By: Woodrow Lucas

My ex-wife and I have a very amicable relationship and have worked out a parenting plan that works for us both.  I get my youngest daughter Gabi on Thursday nights and every other weekend.  Well every Thursday night for the past 5 months my daughter Gabi has had Jujitsu class, so it has been my responsibility to take her after school.  I very much enjoy Jujitsu and what it is accomplishing in my daughter.  The self-reliance, self-discipline, and self-awareness that it is creating in her are palpable.

Now during Jujitsu class, every now and again, I sneak over to the Polynesian Restaurant next door and get my signature salmon salad.  Today, I was in the restaurant eating my salad, reminiscing on something I said to the Lord today about how people need to be focused on healing and getting healed, because getting healed is a much faster route to happiness than waiting for this distracted society to wake up to its need to care for those with disabilities.  So I was reminiscing on my earlier profundity, when I heard a voice clear as day say, “My son, let me ask you a question.  If I give you a man who is fully healed and whole and functional in the world, but he is all alone on the earth and I give you a man who is missing one arm and one leg but everyone around him loves and cares for him, which man is happy?”  I quickly received my Savior’s rebuke, and answered, “The second man is happy my Lord.”  To which Jesus responded, “Well done.”

The truth is that I am a man obsessed with healing.  I take Luke 1:37 that with God nothing shall be impossible very seriously.  I believe that any person, anywhere can do anything, if they truly set their heart, mind, and will to it.  When I was diagnosed with Schizoaffective Disorder in 2001, I paid very little attention to the doctors who told me I would never get all of my mental faculties back, or the doctors who said that I would have symptoms for the rest of my life.  And truth be known, I did get my mental faculties back and went to one of the most prestigious graduate schools in the country and now, at this very moment, I am on the precipice of being 100% symptom free and 100% functional on meds.  But as I ruminate on how incredible my life will be when I am totally healed and how much I want to free others who struggle with mental illness and demonic oppression.  I am struck by my Savior’s rebuke.  For if I heal myself or cooperate with God to be healed and have no friends or people or partners to share my freedom with, will I be happy?

Questions like these make me think of the role that my ex-wife Machel Mills has played in my life.  From the very beginning of me experiencing illness, my ex-wife has given me two things in abundance, comfort and hope.  When I was in the hospital after my first psychotic break, my ex-wife came to me and said, “Woody, this is for the good of your ministry.”  When I wanted to step out on faith and go to graduate school, my ex-wife never questioned me.  She just started to pray.  And even when I experimented with getting off my meds, my ex-wife supported me all the way.  Even now, that we are divorced and she has a pretty serious boyfriend, she called me last January and said, “Woody, this is your year.  This is the year that you come all the way out of mental illness and demonic oppression.”

Words cannot describe the way that I feel about this woman.  While I no longer feel romantic feelings for her, my brotherly love and respect for her could not be higher.  I love her with all of my soul and make no apologies for it.  She is a better mother to my children than I could have possibly asked for, and I am glad that she is finding happiness outside of our marital union.

One might ask, “if there is so much love between the two of you, why did you get divorced in the first place?”  This is a formidable question, as the reasons for my ex-wife’s and my divorce are complicated, messy, and difficult to easily describe, just like life with mental illness is often complicated, messy, and difficult to easily describe.  But I tell you, in retrospect, that I believe that part of the reason for our separation came from this deep knowledge that we both possessed that I had to walk the last leg of my healing journey alone to experience the full benefits of what God wanted me to learn from it.

And I can honestly say that I have felt more alone and isolated in the three years following my divorce than I have ever felt in my life.  This journey of having to overcome some pretty serious symptoms while managing my life and high stress jobs has been extremely difficult.  But I can honestly say, that I wouldn’t trade it, because it has made me the man that I am today.  And I am quite proud of who I am in this moment.

So how does it all fit together?  My obsession with getting free from mental illness even though the medical community says its veritably impossible?  My belief that our society is so broken that it is better for me to develop the skills and faith to get people better, than to try to sow compassion among a people who think that a public option for health insurance is socialism?  The Jujitsu revelation that I received today from the Lord, in which he ever so gently reminded me that healing without loving relationship is  summarily useless?  And my gratitude to my ex-wife for always getting my back, both in marriage and after marriage?  How does it all fit together?

Well this is my theory.  I am definitely going to become 100% functional and symptom free on meds.  That is an inevitability.  I have the persistence of Jacob, and there is no way that I am letting go of the Lord until that goal is a reality.  But the memory of what my ex-wife has meant to me, and my parents have meant to me, and my friends have meant to me, and my prayer warriors have meant to me, and my kids have meant to me, and my brother and brothers and sisters in law have meant to me, and my cousins have meant to me, and the smiles of random passers by have meant to me in this process, in this journey, in this quest, makes me think that maybe I have been a little hard on us as a society.  The person who my ex-wife has been in my life, reminds me of 1 Corinthians 13.  1 Corinthians 13 is in my opinion the most profound pericope of scripture ever written in any religious text of any religion anywhere.  And there is this line in 1 Corinthians 13 that says and “abideth these three faith, hope, and love but the greatest of these is love.”

You really can’t come out of illness without faith and hope.  Faith and hope are the substance of power, and power is the essence of regenerative life.  Healing and faith, even the faith that science has in its principles and laws are so inextricably connected that you cannot have one without the other.  But what the Jujitsu revelation reminds me, is that my mandate once I am free is not just to free others, but it is also to convince this society, that love overcomes all pain, even when someone for whatever reason doesn’t get the healing they seek.  Love is the answer.   Love is always the answer.

When I was a young minister in Chicago, the Lord said to me, “You hate what is, because you love what should be, love what is and it will be as it should be. “  I must confess, that sometimes I get a little impatient.  Sometimes I want everyone to see the possibilities that God can create, as I see them.  But the example of my ex-wife and the beauty of the Jujitsu revelation is that through love we can solve that human problem of unhappiness whether great faith is present or not.  Don’t get me wrong, I will always be a man of faith. And I will always push myself to defy the limits that conventional society claims are writ in the very fabric of the universe.  But as I do, I will remember, “Love what is, Woody.  Love what is and everything will take care of itself.”

Namaste, God Bless, and Love Always……Woody Lucas