The Universalism Road

BY: Woodrow Lucas

Are you afraid of going to eternal hell?  Does eternal hell bother you?  What would you say if I told you that no one, anywhere, would ever go to eternal hell?  What would you say, if I told you that your ultimate destiny is bliss and joy, irrespective of what you believe.  Here is a road, called the Universalism Road, that I ask that you walk down with me for a moment.

  1.  When our children sin, do we punish them because they deserve it, or do we punish them because we want to teach them a lesson?

 

  1. In Luke 23:24, Jesus from the Cross states “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.”(NRSV)

This declaration describes the human condition, wherein we really at the end of the day do not know what we are doing.

 

  1.  The condition that results when you don’t know what you’re doing is usually sin.  But Jesus Christ atoned for our sins, knowing that we were really just ignorant children who did not know how to find the path for ourselves.  I John 2:2 says, “He is our atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.”(NRSV)

 

  1. Some say that you have to confess or give your life over to Jesus, “Our atoning sacrifice” before you die or you spend eternity writhing in hell.  But 1 Peter 4:6 states,” For this is the reason the gospel was proclaimed even to the dead, so that, though they having been judged in the flesh as everyone is judged, they might live in the spirit as God does. “ 1 Peter 4:6 suggests that if confession is necessary, you most definitely have a lot longer than your earthly life time to confess.

 

  1. Also certain scriptures like Collossians 2:13 suggests that it is more about Jesus’ Faith and his work of redemption and less about our faith that has redeemed us to a brilliant destiny.  Collossians 2:13-15 states, “And when you were dead in trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh , God made you alive together with him, when he forgave us all our trespasses, erasing the record that stood against us with its legal demands.  He set this aside, nailing it to the cross.  He disarmed the rulers an authorities and made a public example of them, triumphing over them in it.

 

  1. Jesus announced this victory and the redemption that came to all if he got the victory in  John 12:32 when he states, “And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.”(NRSV)

 

  1. Bottom Line Jesus is Lord.  But whether you believe that he is Lord or not, you will eventually know bliss in heaven.  Because Jesus Died for you, and his faith, and his atonenment is sufficient to secure a happy ending for you.  Phillipians 2 speaks of the Happy Ending that awaits us all at the resurrection, where people from every religion, race, color, gender, and political orientation gather to see the lamb returned in Glory and are so full of awe at what they see that “Every knee bows in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth, and every tongue confesses that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.”

The Gift of Balance

By: Woodrow Odom Lucas

God is about a lot of things.  God is about faith.  God is about hope.  God is about love.  But God is also about balance.  Often as we journey this walk of faith, we forget that although balance isn’t mentioned much in Christian scripture, that it is absolutely essential to well- rounded development in Christ.  I have often thought that many Christians who believe in eternal hell are loving in an imbalanced way, where they love God to the exclusion of their human brothers and sisters rather than loving God directly and through loving their human brothers and sisters.  I have often also thought that Christians who have a lot of anger toward God as a consequence of human injustice are loving their human brothers and sisters to the exclusion of God rather than loving their human brothers and sisters directly and through loving God.  The balance of horizontal and vertical love makes for the most fulfilling life.

 

Recently, in regards to balance, I have arrived at some conclusions about gratitude, performance, compassion, vulnerability, transparency, mumbling, grumbling, complaining, faith and presumption.  In the same way as loving God, loving ourselves, and loving others is a multidimensional scenario that requires balance to operate in appropriately it seems that to operate in gratitude, compassion, vulnerability, and faith also requires balance.

 

When we operate in gratitude there is often a temptation to perform and hide our ugliness from God and others.  But our ugliness is part of what makes us the beautiful creatures that we are and you can’t overcome something that you are constantly hiding.  So when we are grateful we need to balance that gratitude with a compassion, vulnerability, and transparency concerning ourselves and others.

 

But as we operate in compassion, vulnerability, and transparency then mumbling, grumbling, and complaining often arises against the powers that be who allow all of the suffering that we are embracing.  Acceptance, helps us to stay grateful even while we are embracing the suffering in our own lives and the lives of others with compassion, vulnerability, and transparency.

 

Lastly, when we engage in faith, that is “the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things unseen” there is often a tendency to also engage in presumption or assuming that things are true that just simply aren’t true.  It is very hard to walk the balance between faith and presumption, because part of faith is making assumptions about reality based on the Holy Spirit’s guidance.  Because we all see as through a glass darkly and then face to face and because we all know in part, it seems as though presumption and faith are natural bedfellows.  But through praxis in honesty, humility, truth telling and truth receiving I believe that it is possible to walk in faith that has a dirth of presumption accompanying it.

 

The true balance that we seek as saints is to walk in gratitude and testimony without performance, to walk in true compassion , vulnerability, and transparency without mumbling, grumbling, and complaining, and to walk in true faith without presumption.  Oh what a gift balance is.

The Guarantee

By: Woodrow Odom Lucas

In these 17 years of preaching the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, I have seen suffering that has tested the very limits of my consciousness.  And through these experiences, I am sure of just one thing.  We all will make it!!  It does not matter whether you believe in Jesus or not, although you will eventually believe in Jesus once you know who he really is.  It does not matter if you are a bad person or a good person.  It does not matter if you believe in the truth or in nonsense.  It does not matter if you have had an easy life or a hard life.  It does not matter how dark things become for you or how dark you make things for other people.  It does not matter if you have been exploited or if you have exploited others.  It does not matter if you have lost all hope.  It does not matter if you end your own life.  It does not matter if you believe in eternal damnation or that you believe the sky is red.  It does not matter if you are riddled with disease or if you are totally healthy.  There is a man who died for you, who has secured your destiny.

Yes, there are consequences for our actions and when you wrong others you will be held accountable to enough of an extent that you eventually repent of your wrongdoings and the attitude that led you to those wrongdoings.  But through all the mystery, fairness, and unfairness of this life, you have a guarantee from God that he gave you two thousand years ago when he sent his son to die for your welfare.  You have the guarantee that you will eventually make it.  You will make it!!! There is nothing that can keep you from this eventual blessing.  Yes, you may frustrate the process.  Yes, somebody else may make it seem like you will never be free or whole or happy.  But you will eventually make it.

You, no matter who you are and no matter where you are from, no matter what race you are, no matter what culture you claim as your own, no matter what your mom did, no matter what your dad did, no matter if you were given a silver spoon, no matter if you have experienced sufferings so unfair that you curse God and become a servant of satan.  YOU WILL MAKE IT!!! And the reason is simple.  It is not difficult to grasp.  The reason is that GOD LOVES YOU AND HE WILL MAKE SURE THAT YOU SPEND ETERNITY WITH HIM IN BLISS AND COMFORT.  You may endure many things before you get there, but you will make it to the promised land.

And this guarantee cannot be altered by anything that you do.  You have some free will.  You have some free choice.  But God loves you too much to leave your ultimate destiny up to you.  Someday you will know God.  Someday you will be free.  Someday you will understand the joys and sufferings of your life and you will be able to grasp the nature of your mistakes and the evil that you have done.  Someday you will celebrate your victories and the selfless acts of compassion that you rendered in this life, as angels celebrate right along with you.  This guarantee is what transforms what seems like a meaningless life of injustice and pain, into a learning experience of triumph.  This guarantee is what makes every bit of suffering that you have endured at the hands of people who did not understand worth it.  This guarantee is what ensures that the evil we see around us sometimes will soon be a distant memory.  I know that this guarantee sometimes seems too good to be true but it isn’t.  I know that this guarantee might seem unfair given all of the evil that some people do, but it isn’t.

And if you embrace Jesus as Lord and you embrace this guarantee while you are still living, before you pass on, then you will have the potential and opportunity to become something so powerful and so sublime that you can speak to tornados and cause them to cease.  And if you embrace Jesus as Lord and embrace this guarantee while you are still living and before you pass on, then you will have the potential and opportunity to be a force of love and goodness that truly brings people out of hell and into heaven, out of sickness and into health, out of anguish and into bliss, out of poverty and into abundance, and out of injustice and into equity.  But if you do not embrace Jesus and if you do not embrace this guarantee, then you will MAKE IT ANYWAY!!! Because that is the guarantee.  Because that is the Love of the one who created you.  And that is the reality that seems like a lie because too many lies abound.  Be blessed and when you get discouraged, just know that your bliss, your happiness, your wholeness, and your healing is a guarantee from God that can never be reversed.  And that is gospel truth!!!

The Bravery of Disability

By: Woodrow Odom Lucas

When practiced diligently, bravery becomes a habit that you scarcely notice.  And it indelibly changes something in your DNA.  For the last 4 years, while striving to work and parent and achieve self sufficiency and independence, I have faced the prospect of torment every day that I have decided to get out of bed and face the day anyway.

Today, I took my youngest daughter to her winter league basketball game and found torment.  To say the least the day was difficult, but as usual God found a way.  As the day wound down, I heard a voice say, “Great is your courage!” And I thought to myself “Really?!  I thought that I was just being a good parent?”

My story is not unique at all.  Most people with disability wage a silent war against fear.  They face calamity and the reality of their symptoms every day, and they suffer for the sake of their recovery and functionality constantly.  Sometimes living like criminals as they juggle reality and perception, and their aspirations of functionality with the reality of their current capacity.

As Trump endeavors to cut funding for those with mental disabilities or “disabilities of the brain” please do not see these people as deranged, or dangerous, or blights on society.  Rather see them as what they are, among the most courageous people that the world has ever seen.

Namaste and God Bless!! Woody Lucas

 

The Beauty of this Life

By:  Woodrow Odom Lucas

The beauty of this life is like the birth of two children.

One who dies and one who lives.

And the one who lives, lives in honor of the one she lost.

The beauty of this life is like a man who loses both legs in a hiking accident,

And meets a woman who falls in loves with him.

And makes his life worth living again.

The beauty of this life is like a God, who sorrowed for the plight of his progeny,

And he suffered great torment, to embody sacrifice.

And he saved his progeny,

Such that now, all who live, no matter how tragic their lives may be, are guaranteed a happy ending.

The beauty of this life, is like the smile my daughter gets when she hears me say that I love Jesus.

And the smile that I get, when I consider the gift that both my daughters are to me.

The beauty of this life, is that no matter what, there is always hope, there is always tomorrow, and there is always triumph.

God Bless You

Scream Jesus

By: Woodrow Odom Lucas

Blog Readers

This poem is a poem entitled Scream Jesus which gives glory to my savior for the way in which he rescued me when I first started to experience mental illness.  Enjoy!!

Scream Jesus

My brother and my sister,

My brother and my sister and my father and my mother,

My boss, my blessed manager,

My leader,

My husband,

My wife,

My writer, my poet, my prophet, my painter, my gardener, my garbage man,

My earth, my pet, my tree, my rock, my sock, my land,

Let me tell you a story

My brother, I submitted to serve a man and found a religion,

And it was hard because there were such differences,

There were such differences, my brother, and I could see no solution,

So I got a little sour.

It was a dard hour, my brother,

So dark.

And in the darkeness, I was in my parents’ basement, hearing these voices telling me to confess lying.

I was in my parents basement, and my hands looked thin and bony and pink, like the legs of a wretched widow.

Like a black widow, giving birth to the worst lie ever told.

I saw my fave, and I saw the scars of a witch,

As though I was the worst thing that ever was.

I was in a ditch, my brother, hearing voices of a foolish generation.

Burying my sanity in the shame of guilt and self-righteousness.

But brother, but mother, it wasn’t over.

With all of the force of my consciousness, I hell on to some glimmer of sanity.

Just enough to keep me drinking down a glass of dishwashing detergent or throwing myself off of a balcony.

And now, brother, I am writing this word to you listening to the JAkson Five.

I am alive, sister, and I shall live.

Oh Lord, I’m gonna live.

And it might not always be so,

For this life has very few guarantees.

This life is as bright as a cloudless ay in 100 degree summer.

This life is as dark as the suffocating cocoon of a spider’s murderous deception in the darkest rain forest.

My brother it is beautiful.

And I want you to now, when I was trapped down there.

When I was trapped down there, convinced throughout my soul that my daughter was a demon and my wife was the whore of Babylon.

When I was trapped down there convinced that I was the beast himself giving birth to the son of perdition.

There was one who was with me.

Who gave me the strength to hold on.

And daughter, that ditch might come again, for this life has few guarantees, and it is beautiful and horrific all together,

But if that ditch comes again, I promise you this I won’t remain there.

It might take a minute, it might take a lifetime, but I will make it out of that ditch.

Because brother, are you listening brother?

There is a man who is with me.

There is a man who walked this life in darkness and horror, who is with me.

And I guarantee you he will never let me stay there.

See, drunkard, see my brother drunkard on the street us trying to find some way to take away that pain deep within,

There is a man that turned water into wine so you could be happy.

See sister, hardy able to get dressed in the morning cause you can’t bare the sight of your own blessed body.

There is a man, who they called a glutton.

A man who likes to party.

A man who likes to laugh.

A man who’s risen to the 3rd dimension, partying his ass off as he comforts lepers on the street.

See my child.

Christians are great, but they don’t have all the answers.

The Bible is blessed, but it doesn’t have all the answers.

But there is a man who is risen, who likes to laugh and cry and drink Heineken.

And brother, as sure as Nat King Cole was a prophet of the most high,

As sure as John Coltraine walked the path of Jeremiah,

As sure as Charlie Parker walked the footsteps of the Buddha,

He has all the answers.

He’s down with Jesus, he’s down with scientologists, he’s down with Muslims, he’s down with Christians, he’s down with Catholics, he’s down with Hare Krishnas, he’s down with new age, he’s down with James Redfield, he’s down with social workers making plans to birth a brighter community; he’s down with George Buh being outspoken about his faith, he’s down with salesmen getting drunk on Friday’s and sharing love with each other, he’s down with Native Americans having sweat box sessions and casting out demons with the blessed spirit of mother earth; and he’s down with you.

I tell you, sister, n the street selling your body to make ends meet cause you know no other way,

I tell you brother, beating your wife and not knowing how to stop,

I tell you, sister, cheating on your husband and disrespecting your children.

I tell you he’s with you.

I tell you brother ho tried all your life to lead a righteous life but you can’t forgive our daughter for sleeping with the local gangster.

I tell you scientist who can’t believe in God because you’re trying to cure cancer ,

He’s with you.

I tell you brother, seething in a club with a gun in your hand about to kill our brother because you can’t forgive your mother,

He’s with you.

He with us.

He became us.

And he will never let us go.

So when this life starts to beat you down and the voices of accusation have you in the darkness of the spide’s web, my mother,

Keep hope and scream at the top of your lungs, “Jesus you crazy savior, it sure don’t feel like you hear me, and Christians get on my last nerve,  but I believe that you’re real anyway.  Now save my ass, so we can get on with it

Just scream “Jesus” brother.

Some scream “Allah” and Jesus hears them.

Some scream “Jehova” and Jesus hears them too.

And you scream what you want ‘cause he’s down with us all.

But in that dark place man, in that noose of the spiders web, you scream “Jesus.”

Cause just as sure as Nelson Mandela has walked the path of John the Baptist,

He’s real, and he’ll love you forever.

 

Readers of this blog, that was one of my favorite poems for so long.  But the truth is that long after writing it, I actually did hit a ditch again when I had my second psychotic break in 2011.  And my life once again unraveled.  But I screamed Jesus and held on.  And now I am the Executive Director at the Brain Injury Association of Tennessee and more functional and symptom free than I have been in a long time.

Namaste and God Bless!!! Woody

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.