Friday, October 22, 2004

Spiritual Authority

Where do we find it? A few of us are
blessed with a hunger for Truth; it goes
beyond all human categories. Of course
we all have our Truth, and if we wonder
if we are 'right', that can only mean
that we "hunger and thirst for
righteousness". And it's always
changing (if we're alive spiritually);
that can only mean that we are growing.

Conventional concepts of spiritual
authority place it in a closed system:
we have our faith, and we belong to a
community of faith; we have our priests;
we have our book; we have our liturgies,
and our creeds. And for many people this
is enough; they have found Truth; they
can move on to more secular concerns.

But if we still "hunger and thirst", it
might be because we have found all of
these things relative-- and limited, and
limiting. That has been my condition
since I heard about Stringfellow, "death is
the ruling power of this world" and "all
principalities are dedicated to the
'idolatry of Death'" (see my Sept.23 post.)
Pretty extreme language, of the kind that
perhaps only a lawyer could utter-or maybe
a radical Christian!. But it has come to
me that it applies to all the things that
make up conventional Truth. They are
relative, and limited, and flawed! And
worst of all almost always used for
worldly purposes. (That's what
Stringfellow meant by Death, I believe.)

They are flawed systems, human
creations. (It must be terribly
offensive to a fundamentalist to hear
these words spoken about the Bible, and
such a person has good grounds to stop
reading at this point.)

Is the Bible flawed? Yes, I believe it
is-- a magnificent history of religion
covering thousands of years, but it was
written by human hands, by human,
imperfect, flawed people. It is full of
profound spiritual truth, which I love
and emulate, and also of outrageous
ideas about God (especially the O.T.)
that any decent person must find
repulsive. The God of the O.T. is
nothing like the "father of our Lord
Jesus Christ". The Bible is a principality.

I'm sorry, but I must confess that's
what I believe. I've studied it all my
life, and I intend to keep on studying
it-- with loving care, but I sometimes
wonder if God wouldn't like for me to
study other religious documents.

Well- if you've followed me to this point,
you must realize that I haven't answered
the question of what is spiritual
authority; I've only pointed out what I
think it isn't. If you're interested,
you may have to wait for the next chapter.

I love you, whoever you are (that much,
you might say I got from the Bible, and
the Church).



4 comments:

Marjorie said...

The Bible may be flawed, I don't know. What I know is flawed is human interpretation of it.

I love your posts, I feel like they are speaking to me and I hope they are speaking to others because that would mean I'm not alone. Again, I find myself asking, where do I go? I see other people choosing other paths but mine is not yet clear. But I'm not alone. And I eagerly await your next chapter!

Meredith said...

Dear Larry,
I read your post with interest. I have been having similar musings myself. Something that I have found is that the "hunger and thirst" that remains because we find religious teachings relative is healthy - it keeps us on the path. I wonder why you use the phrase "I'm sorry, but I must confess that's what I believe..." I never thought to appologize for a belief. But more importantly, I encourage you to consider what you Know. What do you Know to be true in your heart? Set the Bible down, set all the script from your past aside and sit quietly with yourself. What does that "still small voice" inside tell you? Be still and Know. It is all there. It is not a matter of 'belief.' This still small voice will not misguide you. Trust that Light of God within.

Peace and Blessings, my Friend,
Meredith

Larry said...

Meredith wrote:
"What do you Know to be true in your heart? Set the Bible down, set all the script from your past aside and sit quietly with yourself. What does that "still small voice" inside tell you? Be still and Know. It is all there. It is not a matter of 'belief.' This still small voice will not misguide you. Trust that Light of God within."

Good advice: I know to be true in my heart that God loves me. I know that his son, Jesus told me to love everyone. Those things I know in my heart; they are the source of life to me; they have provided the agenda for my life, with which I am well content. That is the Light of God within. It is also a belief! I don't know it; I believe it. I cannot know anything about the Beyond, the Absolute; I wasn't made to. I only know what I have chosen as my path. I am 78; I am well content. A blessing of God.

Meredith said...

Dear Larry,
And what a sweet blessing you are. I am glad to have made your acquaintance, new Friend.
Meredith