Monday, October 10, 2005

Religious Tradition?

To me it's a great big question mark! Where is
the authority? Look at Hebrew 5:14 or better yet:
Malachi 3:18. Friends, there's a great deal of
wickedness in tradition, and we need to own it.

(That paragraph is an expression of a tradition I
hold very high, but not an absolute. The Bible
itselt speaks against the idea of the absolute
written tradition. There is only one absolute and
no one has ever succeeded in describing it.))

Discern the spirits! In spite of fundamentalists
the Bible is not uniformly inspired by the Holy
Spirit. When "God" ordered the Hebrews to
eradicate the Canaanites, that wasn't the Holy
Spirit talking, at least not if you take it

Taking it poetically is a wonderful freedom from
the insults to our intellect when considered
literally. God did no such thing.

Even people today lean on that "God"-- to
eradicate the Moslems from Yugoslavia, to
eradicate the Christians from Darfur. What a
baleful influence that "God" of the Hebrew wars
was and is.

Blake, that 'Bible soaked Protestant', called him
'Nobdaddy': a very appropriate appelation. He
used some discernment. Friends, we need to name
these things. This is the only way we can address
the naive 'faithful' millions who think every word
of the Bible is true although they've read
precious few words of it.

So much for that tradition. Read the Bible for
inspiration, but don't swallow the
foolishness. "Discern the spirits"!

Likewise for the other great tradition: the
'Church'. In the first place they were all men.
What do men know of love? The female disciples of
Jesus got crowded out of the 'tradition'. Even
today in much of the 'Church' only men can be
priests. Is that from the Holy Spirit?

People are naive, and they got sold a bill of
goods. The great sin of the Council of Nicea was
to 'close the doors of perception'. Believe THIS
and THIS only. Believe only what we say is true.
But who are you to say that? What do you know
about what God may be doing with my mind?

Looking down through the centuries you have to make
judgments; you have to evaluate. One of the great
sins of the sixties was to convince people that we
shouldn't; anything goes, if it makes you feel
good. That has become another baleful
tradition. You must discern the spirits.
That's my tradition. You must say this is good;
that is not so good.

You must do that to the Bible; you must do it to
the church: those things are relative. You must
obey the Absolute. And no one defines the
Absolute; no one owns more than a microscopic piece
of it. But act on your piece of it; that's the only
way you may be faithful to God.

Look for a moment at two of the Church's icons:
Augustine and Francis. What do we know of them?
We know that Augustine joined in a sorry pogram
against the Arians: they didn't think right; they
had to die. In contrast Francis, beginning as a
warrior, turned against war; he was a peaceable
bloke; he even pacified a hard nosed pope.

Well I value Francis; and I disvalue
Augustine. That's the way I discern their
spirits. Their actions spoke louder than their

Discernment! Re: the Church millions of
intelligent people have voted with their feet.
Here's a dirty little secret that few people
realize (unless they've been abroad for a while).
The churches of Europe are empty; I mean empty.

All those great cathedrals; if they have a worship
service a handful of people may come.

It's happening in this country, too. We're still
much more religious than the Europeans, but we're
walking out. (The mainline churches can see the
handwriting on the wall.) We discern the
patriarchs; we discern the warlike; we discern
the unloving.

(I don't condemn the churches per se; there are
still millions of sincere, faithful, true
Christians worshipping in churches, but millions
of others are awaking! There's a great exodus!)

Twyla is 'not a scholar', she says. She's right;
she's not a scholar; she's a prophet. Jesus was
'not a scholar' although he knew the Bible better
than any of the other rabbis. Blake was not a
scholar, but likewise (if you want to become
'Bible soaked', read Blake.)


Matt said...

Larry, I agree with much of what you say. I'm glad I found your site because many of your words ring true. I don't agree that we should judge the actions of others. Since we have this thing called ego it seems almost impossible not to judge, but it's like anything else, with persistence and determination the ego can be brought under our control rather than the way it is now with us under the ego's control.
I believe that everything is of God and as such is of the same value. We can recognize our differences but by allowing others the free will of their ideas without judgment we are coming to recognize the truth about ourself. When we judge, are we not doing what we condemn others for?
I agree with you that we must open the doors of perception and allow others their perception. Perception is only the truth of the moment and as our perception changes our understanding of truth changes. Truth IS and never changes.
You might want to check out my wife's spiritual blog at where I post some of her inspired writings.
I look forward to reading more of your posts.

Larry said...

Matt, I appreciate your comment very much and look forward to corresponding with you in the days ahead. Re judging: I hear what you're saying, but we have to agree to disagree about this.

The Bible says, Judge not, and in Romans Paul makes the statement you quoted; but later in another context Paul tells us that we will judge angels.

Judge has many connotations. Like most English words one can say that there's good judgment and bad judgment.

This morning you judged that it was appropriate to get out of bed; otherwise you would not have commented on my post.

That's just one homely examply of the various uses of the word. We make hundreds of judgments every day; otherwise we could not live in this dualistic (and yes, fallen) world.

Re 'judge the actions of others': when I'm playing tennis at each moment I have to judge (evaluate, decide) the actions of my opponent; otherwise at best I should have a pretty sorry game.

I agree that everything is of God, but I don't believe that everything is of the same value, at least not in the fallen world; in Eternity, I don't know.

Thanks again for the dialogue. Come back and comment some more.

Favorite Apron said...

Larry - in the spirit of friendly discussion, I must disagree. Where did you get the idea that the Bible is not God's inerrant word?
God has promised to speak to us through his Word and Sacraments. The Holy Spirit always points to Jesus, he doesn't speak through perceptions. If a spirit is talking to you, how do you know what sort of spirit it is?
I see the drop-off in mainline denominations as a backlash against the pop-Christianity of the baby boomers. Today's young people are more conservative than their parents, and there is a swing back to orthodoxy. The Eastern Church and the Latin Mass church are seeing growth. My own denomination - the Lutheran CHurch-Missouri Synod is experiencing a split too -- as the orthodox confessionals reject the current president's ideas of "making it relevent."
Always nice to read a "thinking" blog - even if I think the thinking is in error. : P

Twyla said...

Larry - some very good thoughts here. Thank you for stating them, and so passionately, too! I must say, I am in 100% agreement with everything you wrote. No wonder I like you!! :)

(re polly - her last statement about blew me off my chair! she must have been joking, right?)

I've been watching the evacuation of church buildings, wondering where this will all lead us. I have a feeling it will be good. I think there will be a lot more of believers meeting in casual fellowship in homes, cafes, bars, etc. I think the 'steeple people' will begin to realize the need to stop letting walls hold people in and keep people out.

(I'm sorry. I can't resist. Polly, please don't try to prove the inerrancy of the bible using the bible. That is circular logic - it doesn't fly)

Peace to you, friend

Matt said...

Larry, I think you know what I was referring to when I said not to judge others.
I believe we have two visions in this physical body - the view of our higher self, or the Holy Spirit within, but alas, most of our sight is filled with the other sight, the discernment of the ego.
When I have the time to think about my next reaction I always ask for the guidance of the Holy Spirit. I have found that it never lets me down. However, when my reation to something is spontaneous, sad to say, I all too often still react through the vision of the ego and say something stupid and hurtful to someone close.
Even when there seems to be no guidance coming from the Holy Spirit I later realize it was because I wasn't paying attention or the guidance was not to say or do something.
My discernment also says that everything in the Bible is not as it seems. I think much of its teaching is in the manner that Jesus used - parables. I also think many things were added or deleted later by others not able, or willing, to understand the truth of the words.
Twyla, you have amazing words to offer. Keep it up.

Larry said...

Thanks for all of your comments. Twyla and Matt, we seem to be in very close agreement.

Polly, "Where did you get the idea that the Bible is not God's inerrant word?"

My question to you is "Where did you get the idea that the Bible is God's inerrant word? It came into current Christian thinking about two hundred years ago, some 1800 years after the Redeemer gave us his revelation.

We have to choose between the authority of those in charge of our denomination or the critical faculty that God gave us.

"When "God" ordered the Hebrews to
eradicate the Canaanites": if that's inerrant, then the Bible is false.

In seminary a "fathful soul" made the comment: if Jonah didn't spend 3 days in the belly of the whale (big fish), then there's no basis for my faith.

That seemed like a pretty flimsy basis for someone's faith. The bais of my faith is that like the poor man born blind that Jesus healed, I was blind and now I see.
(cf John 9). The Bible aided my understanding of what had happened to me, but did not precipitate it; that came from something in the present moment that God was doing: in 1956, not in xxxx bc.

God is here now. The Holy Spirit leads you and me just like he led Isaiah and Jesus, and has equally significant things to tell us. Jesus witnessed that when he said, great things (than I have done) you will do.

Polly, many in your church disagree with your theological position. What you call the "pop-Christianity of the baby boomers", they see differently. They also no doubt have some less than complimentary things to say about you.

You have to follow you own path, dear friend, just like they do.

crystal said...

Hi Larry. Speaking of women apostles, you might be interested in a post at Mark's site about Junia -- the First Woman Apostle - link

Phil said...

I'm curious Larry, why you are certain that eradicating the Caananites is not from God--as opposed to something that came from God but we don't understand?

It seems to me that any reading of scripture is an interpretation that brings the scripture to life in the present moment. But there are aspects of God--heavily anthropomorphized to be sure--that we may not understand owing to our own cultural blindness.

Well, that's how it seems to me anyway.

Larry said...

Thanks for that insightful comment, Phil. I agree that we have to "bring the scripture to life in the present moment" and about our cultural blindness, but for it to have any meaning to us we have to evaluate it in terms of our present day values and vision of God.

My vision of God disallows eradication of a race.

I understand that the O.T. is a description of the evolution of spiritual consciousness up from the most primitive era to the present. We are blind, yes, and hopefully our descendants will be able to relativize our blindness, as I am doing the ancient Hebrews.

Amanda said...

Thank you Larry for this post. It spoke to me, very much. I am slowly learning the difference between being reactive and being discerning. It's actually a very healing distinction.

Matt said...

Larry, I think you’re correct when you state “My vision of God disallows eradication of a race.” There are a number of things mentioned in the Bible that I just can’t accept as portrayed. However, I must respectfully differ with “I agree that everything is of God, but I don't believe that everything is of the same value, at least not in the fallen world;”
After many years of searching for truth I have come to certain perceptions of truth. I always try to challenge my views by trying to understand the perceptions of others because I feel that if my views can’t stand up to the most rigorous of challenges there is probably something wrong or missing. As a result I have had to change my thinking on more than a handful of occasions.
In that spirit I ask how you came to the understanding that all things are of God but not equal in value and also that we live in a fallen world.
My perception sees that in truth there is nothing lesser or greater for God IS and one aspect or expression of God can’t be of greater value than another, except when viewed through the eyes of the ego. Also, only the ego sees that we have fallen from grace; spirit does not and I believe that is one of the lessons Jesus was trying to teach us when he stated that we can do even greater things than he did.
In the overall scheme of creation, this world is of equal value to every other aspect of creation, albeit seemingly not so.
On the path of bringing the ego into submission to our will, we will finally come to realize not who we are but what we are.

Larry said...

Well I won't debate this with you Matt except to ask you if you feel that ego and spirit have the same value.

Matt said...

Larry, I believe that ego is self created through free will by those souls traveling a path they were asked not to travel. As such it is not real except to those who have created it. It only has value to those using it. That's why mankind needs to get control over it so it can be laid aside and allow the Holy Spirit to fully re-enter our souls.
When I said that I believe everything is of God I didn't clarify that properly. I meant everything that is real. There are many things in our belief system that are not real because they were created by judgment.

Larry said...

Thank you, Matt; I agree with what you're saying.

John XXIII said...

For the most part I must say we Catholics leave the Bible-reading to the clergy

Larry said...