So, what does it all mean then?

John and Kelli Miller ( host a brilliant website, Chapel42. In response to Kurt Cobain's suicide they wrote the following:

Kurt didn't write "Jesus Don't Want Me For A Sunbeam", but maybe he could have. To sing that song (on the MTV "Unplugged" set), Kurt had to feel that God saw him as he must have thought everyone else did - flawed and unworthy, feeling like what ever he did, no matter what it was, it just wasn't good enough. I've heard it said that our image of God is based in part on our fathers. I also think we get a flawed picture of God from the church's attitude of hellfire, damnation, and the image of God as an angry judge separating the good from the bad. So few church people share the unconditional love of God and when they do, it rings hollow because of the church's overall expectations of good deeds and 'getting right' before you come to Him.

When I look at the life of Jesus, I am amazed at who he chose to hang around with . . . I see that he sought out the social and political rejects and disenfranchised of his time - prostitutes, lepers, the poor, divorced women, IRS agents and I'm sure, the alcoholics and drug addicts of His time. His message of God's love applies equally to all, but it's clear to me He was intent on getting it to those who hurt the most and needed the message the most.

Kurt, you were so close. You had reached a point where you could go no further and the only place to run was to Him, and that's really the only way you can come to Him. If only you had known that He was there, waiting ready to accept you if you would have only believed. I would have told you the truth, Kurt, but I wasn't there. I'm sorry.

I think that the key to life is captured in these words. If the question is, "How can I give my life meaning and significance?", the answer must surely be, "extend your self for the sake of your own and another's spiritual growth". This is Scott Peck's brilliant definition of Love in The Road Less Travelled.

I believe that when we begin to realise our potential, when we try to be all that we can be, then we will realise how much we have to offer others. How much of a difference we can make to the life of this multiverse. When we give we grow. It is an ancient spiritual principle of life that to give is to receive. Sean Covey uses this illustration taken from The Man Nobody Knows by Bruce Barton:

There are two seas in Palestine. One is fresh, and fish are in it. Splashes of green adorn its banks. Trees spread their branches over it and stretch out their thirsty roots to sip of its healing waters.
. . . The River Jordan makes this sea with sparkling water from the hills. So it laughs in the sunshine. And men build their houses near to it, and birds their nests; and every kind of life is happier because it is there.
The River Jordan flows on out into another sea.
Here there is no splash of fish, no fluttering leaf, no song of birds, no children's laughter. Travellers choose another route, unless on urgent business. The air hangs heavy above its water, and neither man nor beast nor fowl will drink.
What makes this mighty difference in these neighbour seas? Not the River Jordan. It empties the same good water into both. Not the soil in which they lie; not in the country round about.
This is the difference. The Sea of Galilee receives but does not keep the Jordan. For every drop that flows into it another drop flows out. The giving and receiving go on in equal measure.
The other sea is shrewder, hoarding its income jealously. It will not be tempted into any generous impulse. Every drop it gets, it keeps.
The Sea of Galilee gives and lives. This other sea gives nothing. It is named Dead.
There are two kinds of people in this world. There are two seas in Palestine.

Those who give find life, those who don't find death prevalent in the in lives. And, I am not referring here to physical life and death, but spiritual. Do you LIVE, or do you merely EXIST? Giving what you receive from The Source could change your life.

In order to do this, we need to first understand who we are (as outlined in the first section of this course). Secondly, we need to understand The Source. How can we give what we don't even understand (even in part) ourselves.

In the earlier section of this part of the course, we looked at some comments on life made by those who represent society - the artists. I did not examine all the arts but, if you do, I'm sure you will find (as I have) the same thread repeated over and over again, "It's all meaningless!".

As I look closer at those who struggle to find meaning in it all, I tend to find one thing in common - their picture of The Source of Life is distorted. Their picture of The Creator is distorted. Their picture of God is distorted.

In the song The End, Jim Morrison (of The Doors), a man who, like Kurt Cobain, defined a whole culture of youth and vitality, sings, "Father, I want to kill you. Mother I want to . . .", (and then he screams). He is denying his source. He wants to sever himself from his Source. Or is it that he simply hates his source because of a lack of understanding?

For me this is a symbolic representation of the struggle within us all. Our Source has been so misrepresented because we tend to look at the "sea" rather than the "Source". We base our understanding of The Source by examining our EXPERIENCE. We tend to respond emotionally to experience rather than intellectually looking for REASON.

We need to balance these two. If we simply look around us and see all the pain and suffering, it may lead us to the conclusion that The Source is One that inflicts pain and suffering. If, however, we understand that pain and suffering is a result of our own deviance from certain PRINCIPLES that The Source has set in motion, our understanding of our experience may differ.

Gravity exists to serve the purpose of sustaining life. It is what keeps us all from shooting off this planet. It guides and sustains so much, and plays such an integral role in the life of this planet. If we choose to ignore this principle, and jump off a 20 storey building, we will experience pain and suffering. We could then blame The Source of gravity and view it as a negative thing. If, however, we realise that gravity is there to serve a good purpose, we won't blame gravity, but ourselves for ignoring something put there for a good purpose.

Victor Frankl, a Jewish Psychiatrist, survived the concentration camps of the holocaust. He studied human behaviour while he was in the camps and found that all those who survived had one aspect in common, a sense of purpose and meaning, a sense that there was a reason behind all the pain and suffering, and that there was therefore hope. They could face anything, because they believed in the ultimate good of The Source of Life.

We hate God because we look around us and see so much pain and suffering, and so we ask with Midge Ure, "Is there somebody out there?". We believe that if there is, then he/she must be some mean, vindictive puppet master. We either reject the existence of a Source, or we hate that Source because of the effects of our own deviation from the principles of Life.

There are some, however, who have taken time to try to understand The Source and they have come to see that The Source is good, and that each one of us is given a choice. We can choose what's best, or we can choose what's not. Only true Love would give us absolute freedom of choice and not attempt to manipulate us in any way.

The Christian Gospel tells not of a God out there, but God with us. God comes down to our level. He breaks through into our sick, twisted world, and becomes one of us in the man Jesus. He is 'thrown into this world', and experiences all that this world can throw at him, even to the point of death. But, then He breaks out of death. His resurrection breaks the cycle of this world, and gives us a new lease on life. Now there is a difference. He leaves His Holy Spirit to start a change in us. A change that has an effect in our lives now, but that will be completed one day when He returns again to completely destroy this world, and create a new one, where there will be meaning, and purpose, and no more 'bad' (Rev. 21). Until then though, we can know God, and experience Him, not as God out there, but as God with us, as our Source. The one who is intimately concerned with our lives, who wants to provide meaning and purpose if only we'd give Him a chance.

Those who are lead by God's Spirit are God's children. For the Spirit that God has given does not make you slaves to the cycle of this world, to fatalism and cause you to be afraid, filled with angst and pessimism; instead, the Spirit makes you God's children, and by the Spirits power we can cry out to God, 'Father (Daddy)! My Father (Daddy)!' God's Spirit joins himself to our spirits to declare that we are God's children. Since we are his children, we are co-heirs with Christ; we too have the power of the resurrection, the power to break out of this cycle, we have meaning and purpose in life (Romans 8: 14-17, paraphrased with emphasis added).

When we understand The Source of Life as a loving parent, not moulded or shaped at all by our experience of parents here on earth, but on our expectation of what parents should be. Based on the picture of a parent who loves his/her children so much that he/she won't manipulate them, but offer guidance and direction and then leave them to make the choice (as painful as that may be). Then, when the children make the wrong choices over and over again, and create a world of pain and suffering because of the results of all the wrong choices, that parent then decides to enter the broken world and to show his/her children a way out. So, The Source becomes one of The Children, and sets the ultimate example, breaking the old patterns once and for all and proving that there is a better way.

The choice however is still ours to make . . .

Are you ready for the next step?