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 Post subject: Only the Mystics Can Save Christianity Now
PostPosted: Tue Jan 30, 2018 5:53 pm 
God
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When I came across this it reminded me of our own resident Christian thinker, MsJack. Would love to hear her take on this but of course all comments are welcome.

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/jaysondbra ... ondbradley

For the 25 years that I’ve been a Christian, the “God-shaped vacuum” is one of the most consistently used metaphors I’ve heard. This concept springs from Pensées, a collection of writings from French mathematician, Blaise Pascal:

“What else does this craving, and this helplessness, proclaim but that there was once in man a true happiness, of which all that now remains is the empty print and trace? This he tries in vain to fill with everything around him, seeking in things that are not there the help he cannot find in those that are, though none can help, since this infinite abyss can be filled only with an infinite and immutable object; in other words by God himself.”

I don’t disagree with the idea at all. I believe that a triune godhead created humanity with the intention of somehow incorporating us into a mysterious and divine ecosystem. We would experience unity with each other and divine oneness:

“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one—I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”—John 17: 20–23

As Pascal suggests, instead of finding our place in God’s system, we grasp irrationally at other things in an attempt to find fulfillment that never materializes.

But here’s the rub: Christianity doesn’t fix the problem—it only exacerbates it.

Embracing our religious idols

I’m sure there are some who got pissed at the last sentence. Please, hear me out. I don’t mean that Jesus intensifies the problem; I mean that jesus-ism does. The embrace of Christianity as a system of thought, behavior, and morality puts us in a position where we’re drawing water from a poisoned well. Instead of drinking from the divine ecosystem, we find significance in things that are Christ adjacent.

Jesus tells us that “small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it” (Matt. 7:14). What he doesn’t tell us is that this narrow road has no shoulder, and the ditches are enormous. It’s incredibly easy to wander off the path with the best intentions.

_________________
You have made this ludicrous assertion about Israelite religion in the New World. Produce one shred of non-faith based evidence to prove it. --Philip Jenkins


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 Post subject: Re: Only the Mystics Can Save Christianity Now
PostPosted: Tue Jan 30, 2018 11:26 pm 
God
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well I do not have any official thinking credentials but occasionally stumble around with thought about Christianity. I read the article and wondered if I could let it lead me to a new consideration.

I might have to invite others to help. In reading I found myself hearing a couple of the most well worn conservative Christian cliches bounce against each other to beget the usual cliched conclusion. I then realized I have absolutely no idea what sort of thing might be in his mind when he speaks of a bit of Christian mysticism or real relationship to Christ. Perhaps his teachers when suggesting he look to more concrete things than feelings were just hoping he would express himself with more clarity.

My thought is that friendship will go further than much of what gets called mysticism.
I think the time I spend in contemplation is best when it does not leave the regular stuff of life. (friendship, plans, awareness of my needs and thus the needs of others, etc)


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 Post subject: Re: Only the Mystics Can Save Christianity Now
PostPosted: Wed Jan 31, 2018 12:56 pm 
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huckelberry wrote:
My thought is that friendship will go further than much of what gets called mysticism.

I think the time I spend in contemplation is best when it does not leave the regular stuff of life. (friendship, plans, awareness of my needs and thus the needs of others, etc)

I agree and believe that deep down, the social connection is why most people affiliate with Christianity.

For people who really are interested in truth, Christianity (as it is commonly interpreted) will eventually give them some major logical hurdles, which are only overcome by looking past the literal interpretation and going for a much more symbolic one.


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 Post subject: Re: Only the Mystics Can Save Christianity Now
PostPosted: Wed Jan 31, 2018 8:39 pm 
God
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Amore wrote:
I agree and believe that deep down, the social connection is why most people affiliate with Christianity.

For people who really are interested in truth, Christianity (as it is commonly interpreted) will eventually give them some major logical hurdles, which are only overcome by looking past the literal interpretation and going for a much more symbolic one.


I thought joining church for friendship might hve some problems but if it works for somebody I do not wish to put it down. I notice you hve some reservtions s well
Amore wrote:
We went to another ward for a while, and my neighbor thought we were inactive so she said her kids couldn't play with my kids. For a while, I really was careful and worried not to let neighbors know what I really thought about the church, for fear of my kids' negative social treatment. I've loosened up a bit for several reasons, one being that the truth sometimes hurts, but sometimes it's better to know it earlier than later. The truth is that Mormonism provides an excellent (often unbeatable) social network of instant friends, BUT such friendships are very conditional. My kids have learned this. In a way, our neighbor being so mean was a gift because it helped open my kids' eyes to this conditional nature.

I realize it's not nearly as convenient, but if I were the mom of that girl, I'd try to reach out to other groups - like 4-H, sports, clubs, possibly private or charter schools, or other youth groups that would help provide a more religiously diverse option of friends. But I'd also explain to her that genuine, good friends are relatively rare - so when you find one, cherish them.


I think building true friendship nd lerning how to do it is life long journey.


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 Post subject: Re: Only the Mystics Can Save Christianity Now
PostPosted: Fri Feb 02, 2018 3:00 am 
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He's right, of course.

The Pascal quote reminded me of a well known, but somewhat darker, quote from John Henry Newman about the world's estrangement from God:

To consider the world in its length and breadth, its various history, the many races of man, their starts, their fortunes, their mutual alienation, their conflicts; and then their ways, habits, governments, forms of worship; their enterprises, their aimless courses, their random achievements and acquirements, the impotent conclusion of long-standing facts, the tokens so faint and broken of a superintending design, the blind evolution of what turn out to be great powers or truths, the progress of things, as if from unreasoning elements, not towards final causes, the greatness and littleness of man, his far-reaching aims, his short duration, the curtain hung over his futurity, the disappointments of life, the defeat of good, the success of evil, physical pain, mental anguish, the prevalence and intensity of sin, the pervading idolatries, the corruptions, the dreary hopeless irreligion, that condition of the whole race, so fearfully yet exactly described in the Apostle's words, "having no hope and without God in the world,"—all this is a vision to dizzy and appal; and inflicts upon the mind the sense of a profound mystery, which is absolutely beyond human solution.

What shall be said to this heart-piercing, reason-bewildering fact? I can only answer, that either there is no Creator, or this living society of men is in a true sense discarded from His presence. Did I see a boy of good make and mind, with the tokens on him of a refined nature, cast upon the world without provision, unable to say whence he came, his birthplace or his family connexions, I should conclude that there was some mystery connected with his history, and that he was one, of whom, from one cause or other, his parents were ashamed. Thus only should I be able to account for the contrast between the promise and the condition of his being. And so I argue about the world;—if there be a God, since there is a God, the human race is implicated in some terrible aboriginal calamity. It is out of joint with the purposes of its Creator. This is a fact, a fact as true as the fact of its existence; and thus the doctrine of what is theologically called original sin becomes to me almost as certain as that the world exists, and as the existence of God.


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 Post subject: Re: Only the Mystics Can Save Christianity Now
PostPosted: Fri Feb 02, 2018 2:58 pm 
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Maksutov wrote:
I believe that a triune godhead created humanity with the intention of somehow incorporating us into a mysterious and divine ecosystem.

I believe this too, but I note that the triune Godhead's plan for achieving this goal seems to have been to let people made out of atoms evolve on rocks that drift around giant fusion balls in vast volumes of vacuum. The Party Line is that we should believe that God knows what God's doing. So I can't suppose that the only purpose of Creation is that we should reject it.

To mistake anything made by meat-brained humans for God is idolatry, whether the made thing is a statue or an ideology. To accept that we are material creatures who have to act within our natures, however, is just going along with God's apparent plan. We need ideology just as we need food (at least for certain values of "ideology"). So I don't think the true Christian call is to reject ideology, but just to remember that it isn't God.


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 Post subject: Re: Only the Mystics Can Save Christianity Now
PostPosted: Tue Feb 06, 2018 8:04 am 
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huckelberry wrote:
Amore wrote:
I agree and believe that deep down, the social connection is why most people affiliate with Christianity.

For people who really are interested in truth, Christianity (as it is commonly interpreted) will eventually give them some major logical hurdles, which are only overcome by looking past the literal interpretation and going for a much more symbolic one.

I thought joining church for friendship might hve some problems but if it works for somebody I do not wish to put it down. I notice you hve some reservtions s well

Amore wrote:
We went to another ward for a while, and my neighbor thought we were inactive so she said her kids couldn't play with my kids. For a while, I really was careful and worried not to let neighbors know what I really thought about the church, for fear of my kids' negative social treatment. I've loosened up a bit for several reasons, one being that the truth sometimes hurts, but sometimes it's better to know it earlier than later. The truth is that Mormonism provides an excellent (often unbeatable) social network of instant friends, BUT such friendships are very conditional. My kids have learned this. In a way, our neighbor being so mean was a gift because it helped open my kids' eyes to this conditional nature.

I realize it's not nearly as convenient, but if I were the mom of that girl, I'd try to reach out to other groups - like 4-H, sports, clubs, possibly private or charter schools, or other youth groups that would help provide a more religiously diverse option of friends. But I'd also explain to her that genuine, good friends are relatively rare - so when you find one, cherish them.

I think building true friendship nd lerning how to do it is life long journey.

I agree. And I think being a good friend involves constant forgiveness - because even the best friends have moments of disagreement or getting offended.


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 Post subject: Re: Only the Mystics Can Save Christianity Now
PostPosted: Mon Feb 26, 2018 8:37 pm 
God

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Christ is the ONLY one who can save Christianity!


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