Tag Archives: Mystery of life

Basic Premis of “Getting Saved” Culture

The problem of “getting saved” culture is not on the surface but in the depths of the heart, in the premises. A fundamental primis of this mind-set is that the world is seen as separate and distinct from humankind. The “unity of all things” dimension of human experience is not recognized. Their world is bifurcated into “saved” vs. “unsaved” which is merely another version of the “us vs. them” paradigm, the need to see themselves as separate and distinct from other people and from the world. It goes hand in hand with the notion that this earth is something to exploit.

Someone steeped in this “getting saved” culture sees the world “out there” reflecting the over emphasis of God’s transcendence, God always being “out there,” sitting on a throne wielding judgment and pulling strings bringing about his will. This is a projection of the human heart, reflecting the abdication of his/her own power onto a sterile image. This perspective gives only lip-service to the immanence of God which in favor of His transcendence. The subtlety of Spirituality is not seen as God is, yes, “out there” in some sense (though not in terms of time and space) but simultaneously he is “in here” (though again, not in terms of time and space.) “God” is a merely a word that we have used in an effort to capture this incredible Mystery of the human experience, an experience which is actually intrinsically divine. That Ground of our Being cannot be reduced to a mere word or concepts, nor to elaborate theological veins of thought.

And this is what Jesus was telling us that “the Kingdom is within” and that “he who was afar off, has been brought nigh by the blood of the Cross.” The Old Testament Jahweh, “way out there” in the heavens had reached a new level of development and it was time for humanity to recognize it was no longer necessary to attempt to appease him with the “blood of bulls and goats.” Jesus was saying, “You can give that stuff a rest” as that which you worshipped has become enfleshed, I am He, you and I are one, you too are God.”

But acknowledging and embracing our deity, which Jesus taught that we have, requires handling the awkwardness of thinking of ourselves as “God.” It requires a spiritual subtlety that permits an individual to handle mutual contradictory notions at one and the same time; such as, “I am God” as well as “No, I’m not.” It requires recognition, not just intellectually, but intuitively that I am not what I imagine myself to be, that I am more and even less than I “think” that I am.

But when this notion begins to seep into consciousness, it is scary, even “scary as hell.” For this notion invites us to recognize another dimension of life that lies beyond the pale of our conscious mind but is always vibrating within that conscious mind.

Okay, I’m running out of steam and the not quite dormant “literallew” is raising his juvenile hand, reminding me of just how crazy this line of thought is. Yes, it is “crazy “ to a linear mind trapped in the time-space continuum. This is the “Mystery” that even Einstein noted lay at the root of his explorations in the realm of science. But this same “Mystery” with Christians…and most religions…is immediately “bronzed o’er with the dull cast of thought” when we encounter it and we fall in love with the concept. If we would look carefully, this concept, this “idea” that we love is merely our own ego-self wrapped in religious trappings. That is what Jesus was trying to tell the “Christians” of his day, those who were ensconced in the “Pharisee” denomination of that time.

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Glen Beck and Neurophysiology

Glenn Beck is one of the arch villains for we American liberals, a daily font of conservative blather of the darkest vein. But two days ago on his tv show he tearfully acknowledged that he has been battling for years a serious neurological illness that will shut him down in only a few years.

I guess in the deepest recesses of the fatally ill “literallew” there was a want to go “tee-hee” and I fear there will be a lot of that brutal, heartless immaturity from other of my liberal brothers and cisterns….I mean sisters. But I’m deeply sorry for this brother of ours….for we are all brothers and sisters regardless of our different perspectives on life—we are all made from the same “stuff,” we are all the “quintessence of dust” as Shakespeare understood so well.

However, I do think that the vitriolic blather of Glen Beck and others does have a neurological sub-strata. But, alas and alack, I also feel strongly that this “enlightened” perspective you are now reading has a “neurological sub-strata” and coming to understand this years ago has helped me to take myself less seriously than I have done for most of my life. Modern neurological science has taught us so much about ourselves that if we would humble ourselves and pay attention we eventually find ourselves overwhelmed with the simple but profound mystery of life, including the mystery of our very being.

In the past three years plus some of your have witnessed my “tippy-toeing” into this mystery as my awareness of it began to blossom. Awareness of this mystery…cognitively and emotionally…always evokes a feeling of finitude and frailty and at times is overwhelming. It is an humbling experience. It always brings to my mind the image that Shakespeare offered with King Lear, out on the heath of the kingdom he had forfeited, “pelted by a pitiless storm,” bereft of all the accouterments of his power, “naked as a jay-bird”, noting of an animal nearby, “we are all but poor, bare forked creatures as thou art.”

This “nakedness” that Shakespeare so eloquently grasped in his plays is what Glenn Beck is now feeling. It is what I am now feeling. And according to the teachings of Jesus…and countless other spiritual teachers over the eons…this nakedness is something we can experience any time in our life and can therein find redemption. This nakedness is “death” and out of it can come “life.” This nakedness is death of the ego, a relaxing of its tenacious grip on our consciousness allowing us to see that our life and the whole of life is much more than we can comprehend, an incomprehensible mystery before which we can only “glory, bow, and tremble.” (Poet, Edgar Simmons)