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AslansTraveller

Absolute Relationship, Not Absolute Certainty

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4. How might the words of these two scholars Mitroff and Bennis apply to religions of our day? “If humans cannot control the realities with which they are faced, then they will invent unrealities over which they can maintain the illusion of control.”

 

Very wise. The only caveat I would put on Point 6 is this: I am absolutely certain that I am loved by a personal, loving, passionate God. I have no doubt about any of that. What that means in all the chaos of my life and world I'm learning little by little.

 

The above quote from the scholars explains why so many people don't worship a living God, but a straw man, a limited God, a set of characteristics or rules or ideas which can be easily manipulated and controlled. We cannot control God. To the extent that we think we can, what we are controlling can't be God.

 

But the history of religion is of the offer of freedom and love being turned into Law, Rules, Philosophy, Ideology, you name it. We are more comfortable with those things. They fit our expectations, rest easily in our little boxes and don't challenge our categories. But the real Yahweh . . .!

 

"The Spirit blows whither S/He will . . . "

 

And who was it in the Bible who said "It is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of the Living God!"?

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The above quote from the scholars explains why so many people don't worship a living God, but a straw man, a limited God, a set of characteristics or rules or ideas which can be easily manipulated and controlled.

 

That's pretty much where I've been stuck over the past few years.

 

My God had become a set of ontological and philosophical suppositions with no life. As you put in another post somewhere, God became "first principle" which, while perhaps philosophically sound, I found to be wrong, nonetheless.

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My God had become a set of ontological and philosophical suppositions with no life.

 

YES!! :lol:

 

That's exactly where I was. I had wonderfully consistent, logical and well defined categories and ideas that I treated as God, but had lost contact with the living God. You know what helped put me back in perspective?

 

The movies of Kevin Smith :blink:

 

Yep, the guy who made Dogma, Clerks and the like. I was reading a review of his new movie "Clerks II" and the reviewer had a line, something like: "The characters spend their time discussing sex and life in such obscene tems both as a way to fight boredom and to deal with the messy and surprising reality of being human."

 

"The messy reality of being human". That phrase hit me right between the eyes and I found my self faced with the contradiction of my life: what I believed and how I lived, the reality of the life around me and the life I was looking at through a filter. From there I began to examine and let go of a lot of my categories and certainties, urgent to push aside all the filters and come face-to-face with that living God, the one Jesus revealed (you remember Jesus, the guy hanging out with the hookers, drunks and criminals!).

 

Smiths' movies keep speaking to me (whether he intended that or not) by celebrating life in all it's woundedness, fallenness and messiness. "Here's life" , they say. And I realize, this is the life, the people, the reality God loves and Jesus died for. Not the clean, well scrubbed (and all too fictional) life of so much conservative theology, but the real one that hits me in the face every day.

 

As Andrew Greeley liked to say: "God writes straight with crooked lines."

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OK, this is totally off topic, but I just had to mention it.

 

Up until a week or so ago, I was using your current avatar on another site.

 

The link to Kevin Smiths newest movie is viewaskew, and my husbands online persona is "skewedview."

 

We seem to like the same authors (Wright, Smith and Schuon).

 

There's the "Dust of the Rabbi" thing.

 

And the "wrestling with the angel" thing.

 

OK - I'll let the whole "synchronicities are cool" thing go now. :)

Edited by Kay
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Very wise. The only caveat I would put on Point 6 is this: I am absolutely certain that I am loved by a personal, loving, passionate God. I have no doubt about any of that. What that means in all the chaos of my life and world I'm learning little by little.

 

The above quote from the scholars explains why so many people don't worship a living God, but a straw man, a limited God, a set of characteristics or rules or ideas which can be easily manipulated and controlled. We cannot control God. To the extent that we think we can, what we are controlling can't be God.

 

But the history of religion is of the offer of freedom and love being turned into Law, Rules, Philosophy, Ideology, you name it. We are more comfortable with those things. They fit our expectations, rest easily in our little boxes and don't challenge our categories. But the real Yahweh . . .!

 

"The Spirit blows whither S/He will . . . "

 

And who was it in the Bible who said "It is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of the Living God!"?

 

Love your ideas. I'm trapped somewhere in between the "set of rules" God and the Living God. I'm still grappling. Where did you get such certainty for your caveat? :P

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The quote cited from the study guide reminded me of a Hindu/Buddhist quote (that seemed apt and which could be readily adapted to a Christian theme if one wished by using "Satan" instead of "Mara"...):

 

One day Mara, the Evil One, was travelling through the villages of India with his attendants. He saw a man doing walking meditation whose face was lit up on wonder. The man had just discovered something on the ground in front of him.

 

Mara's attendant asked what that was and Mara replied, "A piece of truth."

 

"Doesn't this bother you when someone finds a piece of truth, O Evil One?" his attendant asked.

 

"No," Mara replied. "Right after this, they usually make a belief out of it."

 

-
From
108 Treasures for the Heart: A Guide for Daily Living
by Benny Liow

Yup, yup, yup.

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Very wise. The only caveat I would put on Point 6 is this: I am absolutely certain that I am loved by a personal, loving, passionate God. I have no doubt about any of that. What that means in all the chaos of my life and world I'm learning little by little.

 

The above quote from the scholars explains why so many people don't worship a living God, but a straw man, a limited God, a set of characteristics or rules or ideas which can be easily manipulated and controlled. We cannot control God. To the extent that we think we can, what we are controlling can't be God.

 

But the history of religion is of the offer of freedom and love being turned into Law, Rules, Philosophy, Ideology, you name it. We are more comfortable with those things. They fit our expectations, rest easily in our little boxes and don't challenge our categories. But the real Yahweh . . .!

 

"The Spirit blows whither S/He will . . . "

 

And who was it in the Bible who said "It is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of the Living God!"?

 

I don't think there is anything wrong with having rules and order in our lives, or in our beliefs. What is perhaps a shade wrong is to think that God is constrained by our rules, and has to answer to them. We all begin by creating God in our own image. Some of us move on from that, some few of us don't.

 

St Anselm said, 'God is that, greater than which we cannot conceive.' If, for example, our notional God hates, say, thieves, but we can conceive of a God who can understand why some people are driven to steal, even if he does not actually condone theft, then our notional God is not big enough. We must revise our interpretation of God to fit our understanding of acceptance.

 

Similarly, if our notional God 'hates' a particular lifestyle, but we have met someone who is not only tolerant of people living that lifestyle, but values them as essential members of our society, then our notional God is again too small.

 

In other words, man cannot outdo God in morality. If even one of us can tolerate, love, accept and embrace our fallen brothers and sisters with our mercy and compassion, then so does God. St Isaac of Syria said that God does not hate anyone; never has, and never will. The moment God hated any one of us; that same moment we would cease to exist, forever. God is love, mercy and compassion. The challenge to us is to find out exactly how much love, mercy and compassion is involved. If we live to be a thousand years old, we will not even begin to come close to knowing the answer to that one.

Edited by Anglocatholic
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If we allow ourselves to be too caught up in the packaging, we miss out on the product.

 

To give ourselves confidence or comfort, we tell ourselves what God's intentions are, the purpose behind the things that happen, or blame Him for what we don't like. This packaging is comfortable. We're used to it, as it comes from the lessons and cliches most of us heard growing up.

 

The product, however, is different from the packaging. The product is less tangible, less predictable, and harder to nail to the wall than a bowl of jello. In my mind, however, it surpasses the packaging a billion times over, and then some.

 

Personally, when I finally stopped relying on packaging, and started to connect with the product itself (which I personally believe resides inside all of us, as part of us, rather than as a man (?) in the sky rewarding and punishing at will), my journey truly began, and I began to feel peace.

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