Easter 2023:  i don't think i've 'shared my conversion story' with very many people, its a bit unorthodox compared to many of my christian friends/brothers/sisters (everything about my life screams unorthodox except that i married--like many folks don't like to do these days)... so, 'what is a conversion story'? you might ask... i don't know what it really means, but i'll call it: a spiritual/meta-physical epiphany, it's the pico-second in time where you realize that you were missing/misunderstanding/ignoring something important regarding Ultimate Reality (a term coined by C. Langan), and the reality of God, and that you've been 'missing it' for quite some time, and holy-smokes, it's time to get on-board with God already, because it's his world that we live in, and we are just sensor/controller-participants in God's giant universe, and on this tiny little planet that he chose for us to reside, maintain, and to flourish while we are still flesh... that's sort of like your 'moment of conversion', and maybe it's not quite that big as i describe, maybe it's a moment when you realize that you've been a selfish asshole, and you start treating people differently (maybe with earnest interest and respect, that's one way to tell if someone is really connected to God, everyone can touch on the asshole-meter from time to time, but the folks who reside there are probably still 'missing it')... some folks call it a 'come to Jesus moment', that's a good way to describe a reunion with our creator/father/universe/God, you've finally accepted reality for what it is, and are ready to give God his proper place/respect/acknowledgement in all parts of your life (although some parts of our lives take longer to conform to God's expectations than others)... hold on, let me get this straightened-out a little bit more before i go on... right, pardon this interruption, but there are a couple of things that i want to mention before i go much further...
... Christianity, i don't know what it really means, but i'm going to define it this way, 'the practice of an individual to live their lives based on the basic principles/teachings/actions/behavior/example of Jesus the Nazarene', and keeping in mind that Jesus wasn't preaching and teaching some new radical 'religion', he was always pointing people toward 'God his father' (his message was that God wants our hearts/fellowship/relationship), and being mindful of God our father in our thoughts, words, and actions... Jesus spoke the words (Logos) of God, and was mindful of God in all that he did... if you read through a christian bible you will notice that Jesus quotes 'old testament' (Abrahamic/Jewish) scriptures/verses/passages, because he was born a Jew, and his earliest ministry was to Jewish people/descendants/practitioners although he hung around with folks from all different backgrounds over the course of his time on earth (ministry), he brought words from God to mankind, and those words were not confined to the Jew, and there were no 'christians' yet, so he explained the concepts of God our Father in terms that all people from all backgrounds and religions should understand, God did not limit his words/messages to the nation of Israel, his message 'went viral' as you might say, the logic of Jesus's words - God's words - spread to various nations and religions/cultures/traditions... OK, so that's the most you're going to get from me today regarding that part... there is this whole other part/aspect to christianity, and that's regarding the actual person of Jesus... i'm not exactly sure how much significance there is the physical and meta-physical genetics of Jesus, some folks would say that everyone must understand that Jesus was half God, that He was part of God that became flesh (i think we all are), that it's imperative to understand that Jesus is somehow part of God's 'trinity', and that God spoke inception to a 'virgin', and she brought-forth/carried/delivered that child that God spoke into existence, and those events satisfied some criteria for Jesus to actually be the 'messiah' that was prophesied about thousands of years earlier through the abrahamic prophets... i don't really know what to think about all of that sometimes... that stuff might be important to learn about, maybe we should learn that, maybe we should 'understand that', i don't know, i'm not a religious professional, i might be a bit religiousy, but i'm certainly not a credentialed anyone really (which is why i recommend the reader to do their own research/study if anything that i write about interests you, you were given intelligence for a reason, and it wasn't to blindly follow anyone without applying logic)... so look, maybe some of those aspects of christianity are important, maybe they aren't so important, but here's another one...
... ok, another one... another thing about christianity that may, or may not be important is 'how one goes about getting officially connected to God'... ok... good... nice topic, but i don't really know... but i'll let you know what i remember from the earliest days of my conversion... there was something to do about a concept that everyone is born with the capacity to do good, and to do harm, and that harm was called 'sin', way-back-when the Israelites would have to offer 'sacrifices' to 'atone for their sins', other cultures from around the world do some sort of sacrifices to their concept of God (or gods) as well... so there was this concept that Jesus wasn't just a teacher/prophet/messiah, he was also the 'ultimate atonement' for our sins, and that Jesus death sentence was actually pre-ordained by God our father, and that Jesus became a 'sacrificial lamb' of sorts to be man's atonement for our sins, and that somehow sins are things that sort of separate us from God, and so we need to make some sort of purposeful commitment to let Jesus be your actually atonement for your own personal sins, and to actually be some sort of conduit for God, and that you somehow verbalize that desire, and invite Jesus/God/Holy-Spirit into your heart/life, something like that... i don't know what to think about all of that actually, i've met plenty of people who have done no such thing but you know they are connected to God the father somehow, someway... but, then again, maybe i'm wrong, i'm plenty wrong about plenty of things, and sometimes thats before i even get out of bed in the morning... so, you know, look that stuff up on your own if it sounds interesting or important or controversial, don't be lazy and just read my little stories and opinions and recollections... so that's what i sort of remember, anyhow... so now back my own/personal 'conversion story'...
... right, back to that again, i don't know if 'my own personal conversion' is a precisely worded term, i think 'my spiritual-epiphany/awakening' might be more like it... so, if you want to get an idea of who/what i was like prior to my 'come to Jesus moment' then watch this little gem of a clip, it's some Army-buddies and i, it was filmed by Andy Mendoza of IL back in 1990, be warned, i was intoxicated/impaired/medicated and goofing around with the guys doing a bit of an acting routine... in the video you will find a heavily-bandaged 20-yr old subject, despite my ego--which suffered no deficit/shortage--i wasn't very confident, still required 'approval/acknowledgement' of others, desperately trying to learn from mentors and peers alike, i liked to be silly, relax with some beer (and sometimes shots), but i was also too judgemental and could be a real punk when i thought certain situations warranted it... since the time the video was taken (the beginning of ptsd) 1990, and up until the time that i had my own personal come-to-Jesus-moment i went into a depression, i was emotionally numb most of the time, where anger and humor were the only exceptions to typical numbness... i found a retail place that gave me a sales opportunity, and taught me how to string and customize tennis racquets, i spent most of my money on bills and medicine (alcohol at the time), and only felt like i could loosen-up and 'be me' after a few drinks, i was pretty socially withdrawn, i'd rather be in the company of a few close friends than in crowded noisy distracting places, i tried to go to big social or entertainment events but it took me too long to figure out that i don't do well in them, i'd do great in them if it were a security event that i was working, but not as a 'participant' (over-stimulation from hyper-vigilance)... anyhow, i just described a lot of people in their early-twenties, really, so here's some more... when i joined the army it was my intention to save my money, and buy a pizza and sandwich/sub joint with my high school buddy John R., then, after my accident 2.5 years later i wanted to become a family doctor, but once i got home i spent most of my money on bills, and had to provide my own income for rent and everything else that life throws at you, the Army GI-bill and College-fund pays the student directly, but the student uses the money for school-costs, not housing/life costs (unless you live with parents or something?), i remember wanting to pay-off a couple of credit cards, and wanting to purchase a computer before i started school, i also remember that i want to be able to cut-down on my work-hours because i'm not the brightest bulb in the bunch, many times i need to read something three times before i retain it whereas some folks can read something once and 'get it', i have to work hard for studies and knew that i needed to carve-out the time to do so when school started up... so i caved into pressure to start school before i had done the preparations that i just mentioned, in hind-sight i should have taken a math refresher course before i began full-time study because i was four years removed from high school when i started college, and didn't remember a lick of math by the time i took chemistry and biology 101 classes (that sucked)... i remember having chronic head-aches back then, if i didn't have a head-ache then something was weird, i remember my knees being too sore to play tennis, and even though my golf game was coming around i couldn't afford to play anymore, which was probably good, because my lower-back and right shoulder were dealing with chronic tension (my tendon-tear might have already happened by then)... i remember feeling like nothing in life was going as i thought that it should be going, everything was too difficult, nothing was easy... i was attending friday night bible studies with another high school buddy named Steve, Steve was all 'gun-ho' about 'religion' over the past so-many months, and since he and i were going to be room-mates in the future i might as well see what he was up in a fuss about... these bible folks Brian and Jacqui B., Jim and Patricia D. and some others were talking about connecting with God in a way that i never knew was possible, and that Jesus was somehow instrumental in doing so... OK, time for a break...
... so like i said, i don't know how much of what i wrote above is really important to consider/know/understand to be a christian, or to connect back to God, i don't know how significant any of it really is, that's all stuff that God can remind me of, or show me, and he'll do the same for you if you want to earnestly start acknowledging God, and prioritizing him and his expectations in your own life, but that's not what i'm really talking about today, today i'm just talking about what happened with me... so after suffering chronic muscle and joint pain, chronic head-aches, chronic insomnia, depression, anxiety, and panic attacks for about three or four years i had a decent night planned with a couple of my friends, their parents were out of town with their younger siblings, so we hung out at their place and had a night with movies, beer, cannabis, and psychedelic-mushrooms... oh, got to run again...
... pardon the interruption, i just ran out to ME and back (visited with in-laws to celebrate Easter)... so the night that my friends and i were hanging out at their place and had eaten some mushrooms, well certain things started to come together, my ego was never inflated to the degree where i thought i was perfect, i knew i was flawed, and didn't have as much self-control as folks that i admired, part of my prayer was written directly into the movie 'caddy-shack' ... 'i want to be good'... that was literally my prayer for years, 'God, i want to be good, but i don't know how to many times, i just want to be good', it was something like that, i think... and some other things that i heard the friday-night bible-study folks talk about, something about Jesus being some 'savior', and something about him being atonement for our sins, and something about asking him 'into your heart/life/being, yeah, there was something about that too... and so i don't know... something about what i had experienced during my mushroom trip was life-altering, something about those few hours that i lay awake on the sofa in the back room that changed my perspective about a bunch of different things, but i remember telling God that i wasn't very good at managing my own life, so if he wouldn't mind helping me i'd appreciate it... and i remember telling God that i want wanted Jesus in my life, and that i wanted to be one of those folks whose sins he atoned for, i remember that much... and then after praying that stuff i remember the sensation of what felt like things leaving my body, it felt like sin was literally exiting my body, at least that's what it felt like... i remember waking up the next morning and having to write down some notes about the things that i thought about the previous night... the two most prevailing things were that i was very materialistic, and that i needed God to be a bigger part in my life... that was my come to Jesus moment, i was buzzing from beer, probably toked from a joint or two, and the mushrooms, well, i ate a bunch of them that night... somehow during the whole experience i came away with two things, i was materialistic, and i needed God, it was one of the most valuable experiences in my life, as unorthodox as it may have been, God can sober you up and cut through the impairment in a second (that was another take-away)... i don't have too much more to say on the subject right now, but i'll tell you that life took a different direction after that night, there was a certain feeling of 'being lighter', lighter on my feet, less stressful reactions to pretty much everything, a new sense of purpose, a new sense of priorities, and i couldn't wait to talk to God, God was the last thing that i spoke to before i went to bed, and the first thing that i spoke to the moment i woke up, and as often as possible in between, also experienced far less headaches... i don't know what else to say on the matter, i'm just telling you like it was, and how certain things happened, how certain events unfolded to become a very beneficial moment in my lifetime, that's all i'm saying... that moment impacted my life about as much as getting married, and being there for the birth of our kids... no one says that you need psychedelic mushrooms to have your come-to-jesus-moment, but i'm a bit unconventional... i want to leave you with an essay that i read the other day, i'm still awaiting permission to re-publish the full-text, but i don't think the writer is concerned with folks re-distributing, i'll apologize and pay them if necessary... here it is:

Mega Foundation Press
Apr 6, 2023
The rewards are immeasurable

 Living a God-centered life is a process of following the teachings of Logos and aligning our will with God’s Will (Teleology). It requires a commitment of time, energy, meditation, and prayer. But, once we've earnestly begun to follow the principles of living a God-centered life, we are on the path to finding Inner Peace. In fact, most people will feel a burden lifted when they make the decision to live a teleologic life.

 In the Christian tradition, some celebrate this renewed commitment as being “born again”. They may join or renew their activity in a church or other spiritual group, even participate in a second baptism or another ritual to celebrate the event. This is wonderful but not at all necessary. All that is required to live a teleologic life is to earnestly make that commitment and renew it through daily thought and action.

Keeping faithful to God

 Some say that the Kingdom that is referred to by Jesus in the Bible is the paradise we can create here on Earth if everyone lived a teleologic lifestyle. That may be a preferable interpretation. We don't have to wait for Christ; we integrate the teachings of Christ and emulate them in our daily behavior, and the Kingdom will follow.

 This means that we behave ethically and spread God's love and truth. It is also important to avoid adopting the attitudes of the world, and instead, find ways to serve society and spread Truth without necessarily becoming embroiled in dubious aspects of society. In addition, without necessarily proselytizing, we should be open and honest about our beliefs and put our words into action.

 We developed the CTMU Teleologic Living Plan to make it easier to follow a teleologic way of life, no matter one’s base faith. There are already some pretty good plans to follow, such as Christianity or Buddhism. Discover where your group’s shortcomings might reside by examining it’s doctrine, liturgy, and practice in order to understand its core belief structure and how it relates to the core levels of the CTMU Teleologic Living Plan and the CTMU model of reality. By studying and understanding the core structure of reality, we can most clearly appreciate our role on each level of stratified self.

Making yourself available to God

 Making yourself available to God, or Source, is an essential part of living a teleologic life. This practice was exemplified by Brother Lawrence, a 17th-century monk who wrote a book on how to practice being in the presence of God.1 Brother Lawrence also wrote letters to people from all walks of life. In these letters, he taught us to make ourselves available to God in everyday life.

 Making yourself available to God is a process that starts with God inviting you into his kingdom. It is important to remember that God does not give up on you; he is simply inviting you into His life. Most people find that when they engage in this process, they see signs they may have been missing before. The more you do it, in combination with detoxing and improving one’s overall physical health, the greater the connection you will enjoy with Our Creator. It will also help us in finding answers in our personal lives.

Spiritual nourishment

 Spiritual nourishment comes in many forms, from prayer to studying the Bible, from fellowship with believers to fellowship with others. In some instances, you can nourish your soul by reading Scripture or simply extending your hand in mercy. Even a phone call or handwritten letter can enrich your spiritual life.

 God created the world, and the natural world nourishes our spirit. We feel closer to God when we spend time in nature, away from the hustle and bustle of the city. The richness of God's creation fills the void within us and nourishes our soul, mind, and body.

 When we seek God, He reveals Himself. The truths He speaks are eternal. He calls them "the bread of life" and "living water." We must listen in humility and receive God's instruction. Though we may start the process of learning about God through study, we must understand that study and reason alone cannot reveal the things of God. Strengthening our personal connection enhances our focus and adds dimension to our understanding of Ultimate Reality.

Divine love

 Divine love is a powerful tool for living a God-centered life. It is the essence of God. Those who are in the presence of God exhibit love in the way they treat others. According to the apostle Paul, those who are devoted to the Lord will demonstrate a spirit of forbearance, charity, and beneficence. They will not judge another by their appearance, position, or possessions. They will also not be unapproachable or cold to their fellow man, and they will not yield their self-control to others.

 The mystery of divine love is revealed in the ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ. His self-sacrifice and substitutionary death reveals the secret of love.

Outline of the Teleologic Living Plan and Other Resources

1 https://theythoughtforthemselves.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/PracticeofthePresenceofGod.pdf

... OK, i just wanted to make sure that folks could read the full text, i'd invite the reader to check out the CTMU substack: https://megafoundation.substack.com/

... i hope you enjoyed your weekend, whether you celebrate Easter, Ramadan, Passover, or anything else, i hope you enjoyed your special time with friends, family, and like-minded people that appreciate, and embrace the reality of God, i hope you touched on the fringe of his garments in the last few days, i hope that you entered into some type of worship/meditation/prayer/ritual that connected you to God, and brought you peace in the way that only God offers... peace-out. -- ct