Abandon, by Tim Timberlake
This is a story of victory over adversity, coming to peace with one’s past, and acceptance of God’s creation by abandoning one’s self to God.
Told from the standpoint of Jacob’s view of the world, (Gen. 32:28-29), including his view of God, author winds his way through the Gospels calling up Jesus’ view as Redeemer. it is a story of a man who first sees God as outside himself, another entity we are trying to get to. This is a God who gropes with man, wrestles with him, to make real opposing forces. Jacob’s story is told as though God has His own enemy to deal with while he tries to protect us, or make us pay for wrongs. Timberlake calls the devil our enemy, another power who can actually lead us astray and be the cause of our mistakes. God tests us, sends us places, predicts outcomes, and punishes us when we’re wrong. Sin is a good term for making this false god real to us. As Timberlake tells it from the Bible point of view, this enemy faces Jesus in the desert and tempts him. I have no doubt Jesus was tempted while here. But I can’t believe he ever felt there was something outside himself that tempted him. He listened to one voice, God’s, as One. He knew Christ in him and he knew where Christ is, God is.
The Bible describe our journey from a man-made god to Jesus’ teaching that God is in us. We are an idea in God’s mind. We have never left this place because we can’t. We can move a father aways from his son, but we cannot change the relationship. Man’s only problem in the world today is separation. The solution is one as well: At-one-ment. We have come to see it for what it is: an attempt to leave God’s mind and discovering we can’t. We can only separate for what it is, a mad dream, where we fight this one battle, thinking we have won or will win and then feeling the enormous guilt that goes with this. Our guilt over this mistake is beyond our imagination, so much so we hide it, project it and dissociate from our own minds in doing so. At least think we are hiding it.
This is Jacob’s real story. Jacob is, however, a good place to start our journey here, as our author does. After the Garden we are hearing the words of an ego-god, set up and defined by man to carry on our human experience as spiritual beings, beings that can only be one with a loving Father. Timberlake refers to his brothers and sisters as perfect holy children of God. If that is true, and it is, there is no need to plough through all we do wrong and “roll up our sleves, and put it all on the line.” p. 17. No. We can put it on the line OK, just look around us. We are living in a world of insanity. The worst of our suffering is, however, our inability to come to grips with the truth: God is indeed our Father. Our egos are not. God is incomplete without us. All the rest is what we make up. Fortunately, it is not God causing the suffering. Although it is a part of God’s mind that deems separation as a mistake, which we do feel guilty for. And guilt is separation in our minds. Thinking our enemy is out there somewhere and our minds are minds need to be made safe from it, is both our best defense for the ego and our worst kind of thinking for salvation. What we make has no power, yet unlike God’s creation, what we make is subject to change and the Holy Spirit uses it to to correct our thinking. God’s power is changeless and we can be sure it is the very Power that saves us, as Timberlake says, by abandoning our ersatz and joining with God, from Whom we never left. God does not allow His reality to suffer other choices but His. We believe there are other choices, false gods, and that belief is used by God to see the difference between suffering and peace. When we understand this, we are saved.
This is an inward journey to place we have never left and forever remain, with our creations as a co-creator with our loving Father. He could do no less, for He loves us. It is sad to think we can do something differently. Unfortunately, Adam’s answer to God was not from his spirit, for he would have realized God doesn’t condemn his children, nor does He change His mind about them. We can’t disobey God. We can ignore Him, we can block his Love shining through us, we can fear Him, and we can fight violently for what we believe about Him. We can stop His love from shinning through us, but we can’t stop it from shinning on us. The question in the garden is about ignoring Him, ignoring His counsel — a mistake of course. But instead of seeing God as his loving Father, Adam becomes ashamed and at that moment he blames Eve. This is always our first act of separation: blame the other person. We can’t blame someone, judge one of God’s children in the the process, and not separate from God. If Adam had just said, “Sorry, God, I messed up.” God’s response would be the same as it was, but we would feel very differently.
From the moment this all happens, and Eve blames the snake, we are in a dream world, made up by us. We dream this world because we want to be separate from God. When we separate from each other, we separate from God. When we separate from God we live in a separated world that is purely miserable, although only real to us. God in turn has given us the grace to recognize love as is reflected here in forgiveness, of our selves as we forgive others. Jacob, becoming Israel is a story of a person who further extends the garden story. God does not test his children, does not harm any of them, does not punish them — only loves every single one of us. That is impossible to accept by us, however, in a separated state of mind. Thus we have as Jesus tells us the Holy Spirit who knows God and also knows perfectly how the ego mind works.
In Timberlake’s words, “It is imperative that we visit this story in order to understand what Jacob had to endure to become the man God intended for him to become. Like all of us, he was a person who had to make incredible sacrifices and abandon his will in order to follow the will of God.”. p. 23. Jesus never sacrificed anything and does not want us to sacrifice anything. Making the decision to place our lives and will into God’s care is not a sac rife. God does not want sacrifices from us. He wants us to see again, out of the dream, away from the illusions we make up, to see how wonderful is His creation. We haven’t lost one bit of that creation. How could we? If God is not powerful enough to create an eternal being, what is He? I suppose the god of Genesis that forces his creations out of the place he made for them to roam the earth suffering. Who is that God? God simply and always loves us. When we forget that, or don’t recognize it, in others, then in ourselves, we are just dreaming, where we wish something that is opposite to God, which of course is impossible. Why does our dream seem so real? Because the dreamer is dreaming with the same power given to him, in God’s mind. We can wish all we want, see ourselves as sinful, feel terrible, harbor guilt and die. Yet we have gone no where. We are not out of the garden. We are just sleeping in it. When we awaken, by God’s plan, we will as in all dreams never understand how we could have felt it was so real, because we will be awake in our home.
If Jacob saw his brother only as God created him, and everyone else in his life, he would have known himself to be the perfect child of God who neither wants or needs anything in this world. This is the story he has to tell us. Its not about real estate. God only deals in truth which is eternal life. The story of Jacob is about scarcity, which is our response to God who gives all to all. Thousands of years after Jacob’s story is put down we are doing the same things and still seeking God to come down here and make nice, take away our guilt and finally build a world of our own and leave Him, our dear Father, out of it. There are no scars left with our encounter with God, for His encounter with us is always the same: love. The scar is a bodily mark. We are not bodies, there is no place to leave a mark depicting a lesson. Our lessons are our own actions and thoughts that proceed them. Each lesson brings us closer to God because the Holy Spirit corrects every mistake, accepts every loving thought as true and eternal. God’s plan for salvation is just that. When we can see nothing in our brothers and sisters that has not been redeemed, we will remember who we are and return to God because it is where we belong. Jesus teaches only love for that is what He is. We do the same as his younger and still unwise brothers and sisters, whom he loves as God loves us all. Like Jesus, there are thousands of teachers of God who proceed relentlessly to remind us God has never changed His mind about us.
Tim Timberlake’s message is an “Old Bible message, yet one to be listened to because it reflects the coming of the loving kindness that Jesus offers us. I don’t think, however, he takes the idea of “Abandon” far enough, because it contains a sense of sacrifice, a dose of sin, the sense that God must somehow be appeased before we re-join him, a shift in power from God as corrector, to us, and there being an outside enemy. There is nothing outside us because it was all made up without God. That tells me nothing is real. I know, it feels plenty real. However, feelings are not facts, and we see “reality” here inside a thought system that is at its foundation, completely upside down and flawed only to see the false. God has the facts. We will come to see truth through the only way Jesus says it is seen, through coming to fully know what forgiveness is. Bob Pajer
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