“You weaponized religion and you wonder why I’m leaving to find Jesus on the wrong side of your walls … ”

Daniel Deitrich’s hymn is both a love song to the church and a call to repentance, which castigates the Trump administration for “putting kids in cages, ripping mothers from their babies,” but blames the church for failing to rein them in: “I looked to you to speak on their behalf/But all I heard was silence/Or worse you justify it.”

It is also a warning to the church: “You weaponized religion and you wonder why I’m leaving to find Jesus on the wrong side of your walls … ”

Boxed in by Plans and Commandments

Literal Minded Religious

Ask a Fundamentalist Christian to define his belief system. More than likely you’ll get some sort  of descriptive formula that describes a supposed plan that was figured out from  scripture. You might also hear that God has revealed such a plan to man for his eternal salvation and that conformity to that plan is the hinge that connects eternal happiness in God to man’s highest aspirations.

Ask a mystical Christian to define his religion and most easily the answer will be that the kingdom of God is within you,  “the Father and I are one, and so are you.”

Like trying to grasp and hold onto pudding, formula-based religious Christians do not seem to understand the impossibility of possessing God. For such believers, possessing God is not distinguished from any sense of God as the source of how we experience the mystery of life. Through the mechanics of living by creeds, religious Christians are focused on fixed forms of thought rather than any state of mind. For these humans God is a concept made real only by somehow grasping God; or believing imaginatively that you can and are grasping a connection to God as a function of something called “faith.”

As Watts wrote,

…man is frightened of this living, ungraspable mystery, and is always trying to have it securely boxed up in some philosophical, ethical, theological, or psychological formula, where its vitality is destroyed  …

In trying to hold God in one fixed form, we exclude him from all others, and, so far as our apprehension of him is concerned, “devitalize” him in the one that we hold. We lose his immanence because we try to grasp and draw down his transcendence.

To both greater and lesser degrees, Fundamentalist Christians seem to be formula-based and tend to form and commit themselves to performance-based theologies. Such thinking then become the basis of congregations founded as a means of establishing communities in which conformity is equated to spirituality.

Life, however, is neither formulaic and nor does it recognize and reward performance-based behavior. Life is spontaneous. God is spontaneous. Awareness of most specific aspects of life ebb and flow within our consciousness according to our attention spans  and attentiveness itself to the whimsical nature of promptings, hunches and impulses.

We have no established legitimate formulas for how to deal with promptings, hunches and impulses. Yet most of the actual decision-making and behavioral mechanics of being alive do not occur but in the absence of formulaic response.

Why then must religion and our relationship to the source of our being proceed with the pretense that there is a God, that God has a plan, that God has revealed a plan and only through such a plan with it’s imagined theological speculations can we bridge the perceptual physical gap between God in his abode of existence and man in his mortality?

Christians, in living “fundamentally” by formula seem to demonstrate a kind of insecure pride as well as a fear of living spontaneously with the ever-present mystery of God. The only way to cope with that insecure pride and fear is to become spiritually and intellectually rigid, trusting more in a dogma than in any real mystical awareness of the something-more-ness that surrounds our every breath.

Fundamentalist Christians imagine that they dwell within a spiritual but earthly congregational monarchy that is governed supernaturally by a king in heaven. The king is essentially not much more than an immeasurable superior and glorified human-like being linked in some genetic (we are children of God) way to humanity.

The earliest historical mystic Christians sought out – despite fierce and dogmatic objections and rejections by fundamentalist Church Fathers – the experience of God without the predetermined and literal kindergarten notions espoused by religious formula. Very little, if any, of that formula ever fits the reality of mystical experience.

Fundamentlist formula, complete with its “plan” and performance based “should’s,”  tends to obliterate any sense of union with God that leads to a palpable awareness of being one with God; part and parcel of the reality of God.

Is it not more attractive to be mystically connected with God through the Spirit than to live constantly concerned about performance?

Is it not more attractive to live by the Spirit of spontaneous consciousness of God that is punctuated by promptings, hunches and impulses; that has nothing to do with notions of commandments, obedience, participation and constant eligibility reviews regarding personal worthiness and performance?

This greater attractiveness is more real than any imagined theological circumstance that can not be proven, validated nor justified. This is the weakness most dramatically demonstrated by the early Catholic notions of Original Sin and the subsequently massive mountain of theologies devoted to a concept of sin, atonement and forgiveness.

None of the concepts are now nor have they ever been literally real in a supernatural, let alone spiritual, sense.

Only in the mind’s eye’s of an early priesthood did such weeds sprout and grow to immaturity.

Only in the mind’s eyes of subsequent fundamentally literalist Christians who resisted the mystics among them could greater weeds in larger fields be imaginatively planted.

Ultimately, fundamentalist  Christianity is an imagined environment where a score-keeping God who is external to the humanity created rules as a monarch with biases, with wrath and with judgmental thinking.

Ultimately, mystics – Christian or otherwise – know more powerfully and with deeper love, the reality of a non-judgmental source that exists without wrath or bias – and to  whom the mystic spontaneously senses belonging.

And in that regard, any estimate of fundamentalist Christianity as a superior form of spiritual belief is a false notion. It is nothing more than religion based on supernatural separation between God and humanity.

Love letter response to Lietta who asks, “What do you believe?”

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We’ve had hundreds of conversations over a variety of topics that continues to this day. Frequently you have made the following statement:

“I still don’t know what you believe.”

In one form or another I have tried to answer your question in such a way that does  not sound like a testimony of an immutable truth.

Why?

Because that is the way I first learned spiritual truths. As you yourself have experienced, my culture’s primary faith involves belief in immutable truths (unchanging over time or unable to be changed.)

However, nowadays all things of spirit that I have sought and found dwell impeccably  within. How I see you, how I relate to you and how I love and am committed to you is part and parcel of what I have come to believe about Providence, The Divine, The Triune Deity. It is the basis of that belief from which I try to make sense and find common understanding regarding this life we share.

I believe in something bigger than the three-dimensional life I see and experience as I constantly record the movie I am making (as Don Miguel would say.)

There is something beyond the three-dimensional shallow end of the lake where we spend most of our lives splashing around with the rest of humanity that lives within our chosen circle and our chosen community.

I believe that the essence of cosmological realty lies in the direction of deeper water. I believe in the river of life which flows all around us and that if we lift our feet off the bottom of the river the flow will carry us where Divinity intends that we journey. If that is some sort of “let go and let God” then so be it.

The simple words and symbols I use as language must always remain metaphorical since symbols are not the very thing they are supposed to represent. You can sit on a chair but you can’t sit on the word symbol c-h-a-i-r. It is the same with most verbal and literary tools we  use to express the thoughts and notions we summon as we try to describe the deep end of the lake.

I have faith in that which is not easily discerned by my eyes in the world of five senses. I have faith that the world is discerned by more than five senses and those additional senses or sensations constitute the mystical view of life that is so significant and important to me.

I believe in serendipity more than coincidence and that in some way things happen for a reason. I further believe that in some way the reason for which they happen has something to do with will – my will – asserting decisions made awhile back or asserting things in this moment and out of this moment on a mental or spiritual plane that only I can sense.

Whatever  Providence or The Divine is, the manifestation is most often sensed or perceived as the Sacred Triune of Father, Mother and Child. If I were to dance with the religiously organized and follow certain steps and music other words might be used: Father, Son, Holy Spirit … but as you do … I see Divinity as patterned after a Father, a Mother and Children in a form that has nothing to do with worthiness, righteousness or being subject to the authority or dominion of a higher power.

In fact, if I do  not consciously participate in communion with the Triune Higher Power it no longer exists as something divine to which I might owe allegiance or subordinated  obedience. If I were tempted to label the Triune as “God” I would effectively reduce The Divine into an idol that violates the conscience, the creative imagination and spiritual intuition into mere and mindless religious blather of which there is no socially redeeming value.

I believe in Providence as much as I believe in yours and my union in life. I believe in unity with providence as it expresses the unity between us. I believe in the notion of Eternity as endless existence in whatever form that takes. I believe in reunions with lost loved ones. I believe in progression along what for me might be an imaginary line of growth on an extra-dimensional reality that I could not begin to describe.

Life for me is not a one-time shot of 70 or more years to “earn” something in an imaginary hereafter based on  performance. I believe that when a time of separation for you and me arrives, that separation will be only as long or short as we have willed according to the lights of knowledge we surely possess but cannot sense in our fragile mortality.

I believe in human unity based on love. I believe that loved ones are not based strictly on  blood connections. Families can be forever and we have blood relatives who are connected to us in forever ways. However they are not the only souls dancing with our eternity. After all I was not dancing with your eternity nor you with mine when our souls first heard our music.

That is why we will see our loved ones again.

That is why I find contentment with those who share their love with us  in what is alive and thriving day to day sweetheart.