Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Spiritual Training

People do better with spiritual training than without. Spiritual training consists of ideas and techniques that are passed from one person to another, starting with parent-to-child. By holding and comforting the newborn, we teach that there is succor in our existence. By letting the dry, healthy, just-fed infant cry for a while, we teach it to find succor for itself. This is the basis of all further spiritual training. One person gives comfort to another, to prove it exists. Then the teacher points to the student and says, "What I gave you, you have the power to give to yourself, and others." When the student is able to believe that, it is a self-fulfilling prophecy. Believing you can comfort yourself, gives you the power to do so. This is the significance of true belief. It is a self-actualizing idea, which means it must refer to itself. It is an idea _about_ referring to oneself in a certain way, which makes it real and true. This may be hard to grasp, but take my word for it - you _can_ find succor in yourself. It is worth believing. Everyone I know who truly believes it, also wishes to help you make this self-actualizing idea your own. (They tend to want to be loving and helpful in other ways, too.)

We Christians find this Way of being in the world through following Jesus. Christians of my kind are happy to evangelize this gospel, to gather in the like-minded, and to share God's love with others, using language and concepts only when this is helpful. If others groups of people have found the Way to God, or Allah, or nirvana, or Atman, we are happy to use their language, if we can comprehend it, and to share life and love with them. It is not possible for a human to judge the state of another's soul. All language falls short of the glory of God, and no thought expressed in language captures the reality of God. We can only go where God leads us, and be loving to others. Telling them that their language or ideas are wrong, is just plain _being_ wrong ourselves. Our command is to love them, and not to judge them. If we do, the gospel will be clear to them. Censoring, frightening, damning, condemning - none of these things can be done in love.

I hew to a strict interpretation of the Scriptures. That strict interpretation is that we are to love others no matter what.

1 comment:

  1. [Third try to post] I wonder how/if speaking in tongues constitutes a spiritual tradition.