I DID NOT VOTE

I didn’t  vote again this year… there seemed little point in doing so, since neither candidate appeared to have the qualifications to bring about any real change in the course our country is taking. The problem is not so much with leadership or with which political party controls Washington… the problem, I feel, is more in the citizenry of the United States.

The only way we will ever defeat Radical Islamist,  is to become even more radical than they are… but until we are willing to get down on our hands and knees several times a day  in public to pray to our God, or strap on a vest filled with explosives and detonate it in some public square to prove our allegiance, we will never succeed. If this is our goal than perhaps Donald Trump is the better choice for taking over the Presidency, for there are, it seems to me, enough radical citizens hiding in the woodwork, just waiting for the opportunity to do just that. Donald I am sure would love to lead the charge… while Hillary would only have continued the path Obama has taken… by putting a heavier weight on the pressure cooker, long overdue for a rupture.

There is a way out, but few people will take it, simply because to acknowledge that there is no God Entity, is to understand that we are our own Creator and therefore responsible for the World as we know it. I will continue to teach this to all who will listen, until all religions have been exposed and the gods  they worship have been destroyed. Only then can there be a chance for real and lasting PEACE in our World.

SOMEWHERE AHEAD

I tried for years to journey back, to the blind faith of my youth,
Regretting I had ever questioned, the infallibility of the Truth.
Oh how I miss those old revivals, congregations singing songs,
And the comfort that comes from knowing, we were right and they were wrong.

But burning bridges are all thats left, of the trail that leads back home.
The Truth still lies somewhere ahead, but now I walk the trail alone.
For I have realised in my loneness, that the Truth cannot be known,
Until the heart is cleansed of hatred, and the seeds of love are sown.

Life is the thread that unites us all, of this there is no doubt
Be it tree or bird, fish or mammal, no form can be without.
So let us shout aloud our Praises, to that which no man can lay claim,
The God we seek is Life Eternal, to the World let us proclaim.

One day mankind shall all awaken, and a godless world there’ll be,
The chains of bondage finally broken, all mankind at last set free.
And congregation all will sing again, their voices joined in Praise
And I’ll be there among them, My arms to Life I’ll raise.

Wayne Dale Matthysse

MIRACLES AND ANSWERED PRAYER

Most of us have witnessed miracles and answered prayers at some point in our life. I certainly have had my share of them… from sitting with empty cupboards around a table with several hungry foster children to feed, offering up a prayer of supplication to God, and having the telephone ring, just as the Amen is said, and being told that the local supermarket just had a freezer of frozen dinners and desserts go out and could we come and fill our car with them… or on another similar occasion, the local police calling to say a vegetable truck had overturned on the highway and could we come and take what we wanted before they allowed the public in.

Of course there was the renegade helicopter pilot who just happened to appear moments before our squad was overrun by North Vietnamese soldiers. Against orders he rescued me and another wounded Marine… even as we were praying what we thought would be our last prayer. The survival of the helicopter crash moments later was another Miracle, as was my survival of an automobile accident a few years later that demolished my car and left one person dead.

Money coming in at just the right time, strangers appearing out of nowhere during a time of crisis to offer needed support, or wrong turns that bring you right to where you need to be… these are all experiences most of us have had, and it would be only fitting that we give God the credit for these apparent Miracles… if, of course, these things only happened to God fearing people. The problem is that they happen to everyone, regardless of faith or religion, or lack of it and therefore, either God treats everyone the same regardless of their beliefs, or there is some other explanation for this phenomenon.

Once as a child I found a four-leaf Clover and hoped that my good luck would bring me riches. A few steps further down the path I found a five-dollar bill lying on the ground. I wasn’t praying at the time and in fact was hoping God didn’t see what had just happened… because I knew he would make me look for the owner. It happened only once… but I still on occasion look for four-leaf Clovers.

I remember a time with Indian students in a BIA boarding school. We met every morning for prayer meetings with 10 or more students and started a 5 most wanted list of hardcore students to pray for. Almost every week many of those on the list would come to one or more of the evangelism meeting without being asked and without knowledge that they were on the prayer list. Of course I gave, the God I knew at the time, the credit for this miracle… because I had not yet been introduced to Buddha, Allah, or the Universe. Today I realize that I could do the same thing with a small group of people of any religion, including nonbelievers, and have the same results… because I now understand that when ever two or three people come together, and are in agreement on a cause, the strength of their combined energies in the Universe makes, what may seem to be impossible at first, materialize.

It would be nice to believe that there was some big guy up there in the sky, manipulating our surroundings so that we could live without worry or fear… but everyone knows that’s not how it goes… and sooner or later we must accept the fact that we are just as vulnerable to tragedy as we are to miracles. This is perhaps one of the most difficult lessons to learn in a godless Life, for it leaves us without a rudder and takes away our anchor as well.

I cannot explain the phenomenon of the Miracles in my Life any more than I can explain the tragedies I have witnessed… for both appear to be well designed when replaying the events leading up to them. Creating a God entity to be responsible for these occurrences however, seems to me a bit like creating a Santa Claus to explain the sudden appearance of gifts under the tree on Christmas Eve, or creating a demon to blame for our naughty behavior. Perhaps it is our interconnectedness with all that has Life that explains why some things appear to be orchestrated… for although we perceive ourselves as individual beings, we are in fact joined at the Soul with the Life that surrounds us and therefore working collectively at creating the events of each and every moment. Realizing this connection I believe is the key to understanding Life in a godless world.

WHY I NO LONGER WORSHIP A GOD

 

The word GOD implies to me an Entity that has an identity all of its own. That is why I prefer not to use this word when speaking of that which is greater than myself… for I believe that Life, in all of its forms, shapes, and dimensions, is the Universal Source of Creation… and because we are all a part of Life, there is therefore no requirement or need for either worship or praise. That said however, is not to say that I do not stand in Awe of the idea that I am a part of this Unfathomable Force called Life.

I find much Joy in knowing that what I do with my part of Life, each and every day, is helping to complete a Divinely inspired Tapestry that will last throughout Eternity. What greater Joy could one have than to be a part of this? My Worship is how I live my Life… my Praise is sharing my Life with others.

Imagine what it would be like if this next Sunday morning no one got up to worship their God, in those multi-million dollor entertainment centers… but instead spent an hour or more of their Sunday morning with their family, doing good deeds in their community. Then imagine what kind of World we could create for future generations, if we all did this same thing each and every day?

 

CONFESSION

Few People are aware of it, but while I was in the military and stationed at Bethesda Naval Hospital, I was court-martialed and found guilty on several counts of sales and use of illegal drugs, and on top of those charges they added participation in antiwar activities, such as marching in the Washington Peace march and associating with and supporting un-American groups, like those who tried to send a ship load of medical supplies to North Vietnam or those who chose to desert the military rather than serve in the war. I was to receive 20 years in prison with a dishonorable discharge.

I never had to serve the time, still… I was prepared to do so, because there was no doubt that I was guilty. Everything they charged me with came straight out of my handwritten confession, which they had tricked me into writing by the way… but regardless of that, it was all true. My guilt however came not from those petty charges they brought against me at the hearing but for crimes that were much more serious… crimes that I will have to live with for the rest of my life.

I have always been a good person, for as long as I can remember; even though I was raised in a Christian Reformed environment that taught me that I was a sinner by nature and, were it not for the Grace of God and the precious blood of Jesus, was worthy only of Hell. I never quite understood that, because, up until I went to Vietnam, there was not one thing I could think of, that I had done wrong in my life, that would make me worthy of eternal damnation. Of course Vietnam changed all of that.

To betray your country is a serious crime, I am fully aware of that. However, to betray yourself for the sake of your country is an even greater crime and that is what I had done. I had participated in activities that led to the destruction of homes and villages in South Vietnam and as a result, innocent women and children died. I have been making atonement for those crimes ever since… but have never regretted the life I have chosen, for I enjoy doing good.

Awhile back, I don’t remember just when it was; I stopped believing in a god and in the need for salvation. I did so because I had come to the realization that I was not someone bad but was by nature a good person. There were no ulterior motives for my actions. What I did, I did because I wanted to and not out of fear of some unseen creator god. That knowledge was, and still is, something that gives me a great feeling of freedom and accomplishment… rather like that time long ago when you looked back and realized that daddy wasn’t holding on to the bicycle anymore and you were actually riding it on your own.

I am not alive because of Life; I am Alive because I am Life.
I am not good because of God; I am good because I am God.

Learning to live without a personal god can be difficult in the beginning, but once you realize that you are the doer of all that you have done and ever will do, it becomes much easier and the rewards far greater… for he who finds himself, finds God.

Confession

CHOICES

Many years ago I worked as a counselor at a youth center in the Southwestern part of the United States. Most of my clients were of Indian or Spanish ethnicity, referred to me by the police. Occasionally, however, I would be asked by the local schools to see students, from other ethnic backgrounds that were having difficulties in communicating with the school staff.

One such student was the 14 year old son of an elected official who had been a model student all the way through school. His behavior had changed in just a day’s time and it was obvious to everyone that something had happened but he would not talk to anyone. The school’s counselor suspected drugs and recommended his parents send him to me.

I ruled out drugs on the first appointment because I realized he was covering up something that went much deeper than that and so we spent the hour just getting to know each other. I saw him again a week later and although he seemed a bit more relaxed, it was obvious he wasn’t going to share anything with me and so we spent the hour playing a game of pool. The third session started out the same as the second did, however, when I suggested we play pool again he lifted his head and for the first time in our relationship, looked at me straight in the eyes.

“If I tell you something, will you tell my father?” he asked, in a manner that indicated he was ready and needing to talk.

I assured him that whatever he told me would remain confidential… however as I spoke those words my heart began pounding for I knew he was about to confess something to me that perhaps I did not want to hear.

He began by asking me what I thought of Indians and I told him that I saw them on an equal level as all other people.

“My father says they are like dogs.” he responded emotionlessly, and then proceeded to tell me the details of a Saturday morning joy ride on his motorcycle a few weeks prior.

His father had given him a dirt bike for his birthday and he loved riding it out in the wide open spaces just outside of town.  He was usually all alone and could do whatever he felt like doing, without fear of someone reporting him to his father, whom he both admired and feared.

He was tearing up the dirt at a high rate of speed when suddenly, just ahead of him, he saw a drunken Indian passed out on the ground. He had plenty of time to stop or to slow down and go around him but instead, without putting much thought into it; he sped up and ran over the man’s head… just like one might do to a mangy old dog.

He realized immediately that he had done something wrong but instead of reporting it, he returned to his home and washed down the motorcycle to get rid of any evidence. The following day he searched the newspaper and found the report of an Indian male found dead in the area he had been riding.  The police believed it to be gang related and so no further investigation would be done.

“Wow, I guess that pretty much explains things, doesn’t it?” I responded, after a brief pause. “But where do we go from here?”

“I don’t know?” he responded quietly, “I don’t know?”

“I want to keep seeing you,” I assured him, “but I would like you to talk with a friend of mine as well, who may be better qualified to help you. Would you mind if I told your mother to make an appointment with him?”

“I guess it would be okay.” he answered, “but please don’t tell her why.”

I assured him that I would not and made the call to his mother as soon as he left the office. I told her that I did not feel qualified to help her son and recommended making an appointment with a psychologist I knew.

He came back to see me a few weeks later and we played a game of pool. I asked him how it was going and he said things were improving… a few days later he was killed in a tragic accident when he supposedly lost control of his dirt bike and slammed into a tree.

In the years that have followed I have worked with many people who have taken wrong turns in life and ended up on dead-end roads. Some have been able to turn themselves around by admitting their wrongdoing and making a new start with whatever they have left; others have tried to convince themselves that they really were not at fault and that things would get better in time; still others, realizing the road ahead would end… charge full speed ahead regardless.

Recently I have been made more aware of the fact that I am a part of Humanity and that together we have done irreversible damage to the world we live in. Already the ill effects are being felt and Life, as we have known it, will never be the same. The road we are on is Dead ending and unless we turn ourselves around the human race will not survive.

Some have already acknowledged this and are making an effort to salvage what we can to rebuild a New World; others hide their heads in the sand, waiting for a Savior to rescue them; still others, seeing opportunities to profit from the changing times, charge full speed ahead without concern for future generations.

We are all responsible for letting things get out of control and even though we may believe ourselves to be good people… what happens now, will depend solely on what we do collectively… the choice is ours to make.

Darkness

LIFE ETERNAL

Before there was time I existed, in a dimension far different than Now.
My whole world was self-sustaining; to no one I needed to bow.
 
But a question arose from somewhere deep, ‘How different would my world be,
If I didn’t know all the answers and the future were up to me?’
 
In a burst of light the Universe appeared and a dimension of Space was formed,
And never again would things be the same for Time was also born. 
 
And the blissfulness I had known before could no longer sustain my soul,
For the door to Creation had been opened and I knew I had to go.
 
A speck I became on the ocean floor of a planet now known as Earth,
And as time went by I multiplied through the process of rebirth.
 
I took on new form and being and changed my size and shape,
Until it was I became a man, just one step up from Ape.
 
I have made a lot of changes but still have far to go.
There’s so much more to understand and much, much more to know.
 
It hasn’t been an easy road for both sides I’ve had to play,
 But I am learning to seek the middle ground and live from day to day.
 
And when my final dream is realized and my imagination has run dry,
I will close my eyes in peaceful sleep, but never will I die.
 
For although space and time may disappear my journey will not end,
In new dimensions I’ll awake and start all over again. 

 

For I am Life and I am Eternal 

 

 

WATERMELON

Watermelon

I was born and raised in the Midwest, Michigan to be more precise, and one of my favorite fruits has always been Watermelon. The only way we ever ate it growing up was ice cold, and I never thought of eating it any other way because it was perfect eating it that way… what would be the purpose of eating it another way?

As my world expanded, I met other people who liked Watermelon just as much as I did and most of them ate it in the same way… although I do remember one time, when at a party, someone spiked the melon with Vodka. I took one bite of it and threw the rest in the garbage can. ‘Idiots’, I thought, ‘what a waste of good melon’.

A few years later my world had expanded to Honduras where, on a hot scorching day, I was invited to share a whole Watermelon with a friend from the South. He split the melon in half, right there in the market place, and it wasn’t even cold.  Still… it was ripe and juicy and just as I was about to cut myself a slice out of it, he pulled a salt shaker out of his shirt pocket and salted down both halves. ‘How rude’, I thought, as I put the knife down, ‘why would anybody do something as stupid as that?’ I refused to even try a piece of it and walked away in disgust.

As time went by however, I allowed myself to appreciate the taste of Watermelon in many different ways. I have had it in salads and soups, pickled, soaked in alcohol, mixed in drinks and shakes, and I have even learned to appreciate it with a dash of salt at times.

A lot of people I have met along the Way have never tasted Watermelon and some even doubt its existence, because they have never seen anything like what I describe to them. I have tried to convince them that they would love it as much as I do, if only they would try it, but they just shrug their shoulders and say, “We love Durian… why would we need to try anything else?”

I have tried Durian, and will eat it on occasion when it is served to me… but I still prefer ice cold Watermelon if I have a choice… most likely because that is what I was brought up on. I guess it doesn’t really make any difference what fruit you like to eat, but it is important to remember to include a variety of fruit in your diet, if you want to live a healthy life… without constipation. 

THE FIGHT

A few days ago we had a group of people here that wanted to spend the day with our children. They showered them with gifts and prepared a dinner with more food on the table then the kids had ever seen before. We had a great time but as is usual, on days like these, the kids get tired and sooner or later a fight breaks out. The two boys were about the same size and therefore it was a fair fight. Our usual policy at Wat Opot is to allow the children to express themselves, as long as the fight is clean, and then applaud the participants when it is over for coming to an agreement. Not everyone understands this of course and I had hoped to avoid having to step in but I could see that the guests were very concerned and so we broke them apart. The one boy however, who had been pushed down in the dirt, would not be consoled and so I gave the other one, who had done the pushing, a one minute head start to find a hiding place, before releasing his victim. He disappeared behind some buildings and when I released his victim he went running after him.  The visitors wanted me to follow them but I told them it would be no problem and we continued with the games. The boys returned together later and had obviously worked things out. When children are given responsibility for their actions, they usually come up with adult solutions.

Some people wonder why I have given up on religion and I can certainly understand their confusion; but the reason is simple. I got tired of being a child of God… because as long as I believed I was a child of God, I was not responsible for my life or for this world that He put me in. Everything that happened to me was because He wanted it to. Even if I had done something wrong, Jesus covered it with his blood and I could live with the assurance that all of those who did something wrong to me, would be cast into hell. When adults are not given responsibility for their actions, they usually come up with childish solutions… and that is exactly what we see in the world today. 

Jesus showed us how we should live our life here on Earth. He stood up to injustice, he healed the sick and the blind, and he did not become a member of any society. He was a terrorist in the eyes of the religious authorities and took responsibility for his actions by being crucified. Shouldn’t we be doing the same?

ONENESS

God didn’t die, but neither does he live. He is only a creation of those who refuse to accept the responsibility for their own lives. Life however, has been around for a long-long time and in fact was present when the formation of what we call the Universe burst into being. The existence of a God Being has been in question from the beginning of mankind’s time on Earth, but who can question the existence of Life? Life flows through each and every one of us each time we take a breath. It also exists all around us in the forest and the mountain streams, without which we could not survive. We are all connected, not only to each other, but to nature as well, and it is this interconnection, or Oneness, that drives us forward into eternity.

Life is not a Being and therefore needed no Creator. It Is, always has been, and always will be Life, regardless of what form it may choose to take. Humankind is only one manifestation of Life, and in time may no longer be of necessity… but Life will go on in other forms, as I am sure it has done in other parts of the Universe.

What then is the purpose of humankind if nothing we do will last? The answer is quite simple actually; we are the filtration system for the Plant Kingdom so that it can breathe and produce flowers and trees that provides a beautiful shelter from heat and storm to their most important asset… which just happens to be you and me.

Wayne Dale Matthysse

RELIGION

I am not interested in destroying anyone’s religious views or habits. We all crave security, and belonging to a religious group can provide us with the fellowship needed for us to have a meaningful life. The problem lies not in how a group of people decides to worship, but in how the group they belong to functions in the world. Many religious groups support proselytizing of “pagan” peoples or support military actions against opposing religious groups. While these destructive actions may not require the direct involvement of a majority of its members, it does require financial support and backing. While I know of many good people who would never think about turning a child against his parents or culture, without thought would give money to a Vacation Bible School program in some poor community or third world country, which is one of the most destructive weapons in the missionary’s arsenal. Most of us would never think about killing another person, yet support the military actions of our leaders with, not only our financial support, but with our sons and daughters as well. 

All I am asking of you is to  look within yourself for the answers to life’s questions and not to someone else; for until we have learned to accept ourselves completely, we will never even begin to realize the beautiful creatures we are becoming as a result of overcoming what many Christians call our “sinful nature”, and what I have come to think of as Ignorance of our true potential.

Creation is, in Essence, God. Let all of Creation rejoice!