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
(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.)