My Eye: A Vision of Christ. The Gnostic Christian Autobiography of Mark Wonser A free copy will be given to all of our overnight guests!
In December 2008, Mark and Jean’s youngest son, Kevin, died in a tragic accident on the farm. Kevin was Mark’s best friend and his death became the catalyst for a dramatic turn of events in Mark’s life.
FROM THE BACK COVER:
The first half of this two part book tells the story of an ordinary boy enriched by his mother’s faith yet torn apart by a bitter divorce. Maintaining his religious underpinnings, Mark struggles through the divorce and graduates from college with a degree in finance. This takes him to the Chicago Mercantile Exchange where he makes millions of dollars, marries his wife and retires at the age of 36. Shortly after, Mark received a Master’s degree in Theology setting the foundation for the remainder of his life. The first half of the book ends with the death his fourth child, Kevin, which becomes the catalyst for a tremendous spiritual conversion.
The second half of the book walks the reader through that conversion documenting the steps taken to accomplish it. A discussion of physics is used to set up a foundation for further explanations in theology. This discussion results in a need to re-evaluate the meaning of Mark 8:29 when Jesus asks: “Who do you say that I am?” The result is a shift from orthodox religion to a focus on Sophian Gnosticism. Time is spent focusing on Kabbalah and The Tree of Life, and on a special sign Mark created called the “Sign of the Tree.” Kabbalistic teachings on reincarnation and suffering are explored. Mark applies these teachings to his life by leaving the material world behind, going to work at a homeless shelter, and becoming a hospice volunteer.
I didn’t ever take the car to the race track; didn’t need to. Every Friday and Saturday night I would cruise the main drag next to school, 122nd avenue, looking for someone else that had their car out that night. The best race I can remember was one that I lost. A buddy had a ’52 Chev, very similar to my ’50, but with a Buick 409 cubic inch motor and a 4 speed automatic transmission. It was the automatic that beat me. I had a three speed on the floor and I just couldn’t shift often and fast enough to keep up. The race started out late, probably after midnight, on Friday night. I saw him sitting at the red light look’n lonely as a stray dog when I pulled up right beside him. It was right in front of Dunkin-Donuts where the cops usually hung out but you could see inside from the street and this night it was empty. The light turned green the minute I pulled up but we both just sat there, as if anchored to the floor, looking across at each other and doing nothing. The light turned red again. As the green light of the cross street turned yellow, you could hear our motors revving from blocks away. It sounded like the beginning of the Indy 500. When the light turned green, smoke and rubber started fly’n everywhere. From the back, you couldn’t have seen our cars through all the smoke. I blasted out of the hole first because those wide tires I had bit into the pavement like a hungry dog attacks his chow. As I reached down to grab second, I looked across to see my opponent, as if in slow motion, pulling up beside me, and then slightly ahead. But second gear was all muscle for me and as my tach(ometer) began to wind up, I could see him slowly start to slip behind. On the outside of the car, the world was passing by at alarming speeds, but as I looked at my adversary, it was if we were standing still. On the inside of the car, I was lost in a bucket-load of testosterone. I felt every cubic inch of the metal and power under the hood. There was nothing else in the world at that moment but the race. Just after I pulled ahead and reached for third, he lunged forward as the advantage of his automatic 4 speed came into full play. He had hit third it seems a lifetime before me and I knew at that moment the race was over. Hitting speeds of over eighty mph in a thirty five zone would have been a big ticket and to avoid one I knew I had to shut her down. Although I lost that race, I held my head high that night knowing that I squeezed every ounce of power out of that 283 and with a different transmission the outcome would have been a different story.
I had been in a trance-like state, methodically breathing and walking for a period of about twenty minutes, when all of a sudden I felt different. It was as though a cloud of love descended upon me and filled every pore of my being. I began to grin ear to ear, and although my walking pace did not change, there was a new bounce in my step. I felt lighter. I was overwhelmed and overpowered by the blissful awareness of love. I didn’t know what to do with it all. I began to swoosh it to those that were passing by me on the inner circle. I was mentally, but not physically, using my arms and hands to push this new love away, not to get rid of it, but to share; I had so much. And within a few minutes of the beginning of my ‘love’ experience, I recognized the love I was enjoying as Christ. I turned flush with joy at the thought. It was like welcoming home a beloved long lost friend. Christ was back in my life after eleven years of perceived absence. Instantly my concerns about the Virgin Birth and Bodily Resurrection resurfaced, and just as fast they were dispelled. I wasn’t sure how Jesus came into this world, or how he left, but one thing was sure, he was alive and present in my life right now; he was lighting up my world. The remainder of the retreat proceeded in silence and prayer as it had began. No one (on this earth) was aware of the radical change that took place inside of me; I was undeniably altered and reborn in Christ. During the rest of the retreat, no matter what the group was mediating on, I was focused on Christ. I meditated on each of Jesus’ sacred wounds, one at a time. I meditated on his sacred heart and his loving hands. I meditated on his relationship to Mary, and his love for me. I prayed like I had never prayed before.
MERKAVA CHARIOT & EXERCISE
At all times I encourage the Glory of the Lord to enter and bring comfort to the space I inhabit. This is especially true when I am doing repetitive tasks such as exercising. I try to exercise four times a week. When I can, I jog around the long way to Kevin’s memorial site and back, and this ends up being around two miles. If the weather is poor, I stay in and ride a stationary bike. My bike has peddles and also has push and pull arm levers to help with circulation and an upper body workout. The front wheel of the bike doubles as a fan and provides cooling and some wind resistance as I pedal. When I ride the bike, it is easy to close my eyes and let God’s Glory fill my heart.
Merkava is the throne, or “chariot,” of God as described by the prophet Ezekiel. It became an object of visionary contemplation for early Jewish mystics. Here I invite you to come along as I go for a ride on the Merkava Chariot in my own mystical contemplation.
As I sit on the bike and begin to pedal, push, and pull, I feel the fan of the front wheel blow lightly across my body. As I get up to speed, I close my eyes and my imagination is allowed to run. It is then that I visualize myself on board the Merkava Chariot of Ezekiel. As I climb on board, I take the reigns and I feel the stormy winds begin to rage. The heavens open and a great cloud of brightness descends with fire flashing all around me. The fire begins to organize and shape itself into the four wheels of my chariot. The diameter of the wheels is five feet tall and inside each is a dozen more, one inside the other. The wheels are completely ablaze and spinning in all directions. The chariot is drawn by four beasts of human form resembling a lion, an ox, an eagle, and a human. The spirit of the living creatures is in the wheels. Kevin rides beside me and often takes the reigns. And others ride too. There is room for you. Come along!
The Spirit lifts me up, and as I begin to move forward, I penetrate the walls before me to exit the house. I travel low to the ground since heaven and earth are One, and nothing is gained by altitude. It feels as if I am onboard Santa’s sleigh. I head east in the direction of Mt. Hood, one of my favorite angels. I pull up along the left side of this glorious mass of snow and ice and broadly circle to the right, feeding on the magic of its pyramidal shape. As I approach the wonderful mountain, I am reminded of two large hands clasped together in prayer. I round and exit, crossing over the path of my entrance, and enter the Gorge of the great angel, the mighty Columbia River. And sparks are flying from the wheels of my carriage and they are spewing in all directions and landing on the people and communities below. And as each is touched by a spark, they feel love and they crowd to be touched. My exhaust is the most beautiful ruby red interlaced with blue as lapis lazuli. The red reminds me of the sacrifice on the cross, and the blue a blessing from the heavens above. The song “This little light of mine” begins to play in my head. Light and Glory fill the earth. Music fills my soul. There is a rainbow overhead with fluorescent colors of the full spectrum: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet. A cloud of dazzling brightness leads the way. As my team heads downstream, over the dam, and past the airport, it approaches the great city of Portland, Oregon. It turns left and upstream following the path of the angel Willamette River, and directly into the heart of town where by instinct I am drawn to TPI, the homeless shelter where I work. The chariot finds the very building and hovers overhead. I pass two cherubim stationed on the roof and sparks are being raised and touching many as my chariot begins to descend. Now into the heart of the shelter, Glory and Light churn out from my wheels filling the hearts of all who come near. Music and colors fill the air. Continuing to descend, I am now in the basement, where I pedal and push, and pedal and push, and here I generate the love and kindness that fills the building with Light. And I send it through the pipes. I AM the Source. I feel the winds blow and my breath full of life enters them and they come to life and stand up on their feet—a vast army. Light is everywhere, and this is where I camp. My heart is lifted by the Spirit as I hear behind me a loud rumbling sound. And one shouts “may the glory of the LORD be praised in this dwelling place!” And I pedal and push, and pedal and push, until I come home and awake.