According to some Christian outlooks we were made for another world. Perhaps, rather, we were made for
this world to recreate, reclaim, and renew unto God's future aspiration by the power of His Spirit. - R.E. Slater
Secularization theory has been massively falsified. We don't live in an age of secularity. We live in an age of
explosive, pervasive religiosity... an age of religious pluralism. - Peter L. Berger
Exploring the edge of life and faith in a post-everything world. - Todd Littleton
I don't need another reason to believe, your love is all around for me to see. - anon
Thou art our need; and in giving us more of thyself thou givest us all. - Khalil Gibran, Prayer XXIII
Be careful what you pretend to be. You become what you pretend to be. - Kurt Vonnegut
Religious beliefs, far from being primary, are often shaped and adjusted by our social goals. - Jim Forest
People, even more than things, need to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone. - anon
... Certainly God's love has made fools of us all. - R.E. Slater
An apocalyptic Christian faith doesn't wait for Jesus to come, but for Jesus to become in our midst. - R.E. Slater
Christian belief in God begins with the cross and resurrection of Jesus, not with rational apologetics. - Eberhard Jüngel, Jürgen Moltmann
Our knowledge of God is through the 'I-Thou' encounter, not in finding God at the end of a syllogism or argument.
There is a grave danger in any Christian treatment of God as an object. The God of Jesus Christ and Scripture is
irreducibly subject and never made as an object, a force, a
power, or a principle that can be manipulated. - Emil Brunner
Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh means "I will be that who I have yet to become." - God (Ex 3.14)
Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. - Thomas Merton
The church is God's world-changing social experiment of bringing unlikes and differents to the Eucharist/Communion table
to share life with one another as a new kind of family. When this happens we show to the world what love, justice, peace,
reconciliation, and life together is designed by God to be. The church is God's show-and-tell for the world to see how God wants
us to live as a blended, global, polypluralistic family united with one will, by one Lord, and baptized by one Spirit. - anon
The cross that is planted at the heart of the history of the world cannot be uprooted. - Jacques Ellul
The Unity in whose loving presence the universe unfolds is inside each person as a call to welcome the stranger, protect animals
and the earth, respect the dignity of each person, think new thoughts, and help bring about ecological civilizations. - John Cobb & Farhan A. Shah
If you board the wrong train it is of no use running along the corridors of the train in the other direction. - Dietrich Bonhoeffer
God's justice is restorative rather than punitive; His discipline is merciful rather than punishing; His power
is made perfect in weakness; and His grace is sufficient for all. - anon

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Dispensing the Ghosts in Our Lives




Mazes of the Heart

Have you ever heard the phrase,

"The better something is the worst it is?"

Here is a phrase that promises something wonderful, full of delight, satisfying, but when it comes to whatever that something is it is quite unlike our hopes and expectations.

Why is that?

The doors of our perception always seems open to the search for an inner peace built of the crystal cathedrals to all kinds of things holding promises that would give to us an inner peace and sanctuary.

But these things are not what they at first appear to be. They become something else. Something that might further entrap or disappoint us. Snares that become even more difficult to be freed from. A web of entanglement leading to further strands of lies and deceits we tell ourselves.

These are the ghosts, specters, and ghouls of our lives. The promises of heaven we hope to find which hold anything but heaven within.

There is another saying,

"The more someone believes that something will bring wholeness or completeness
to one's life, the more we flee away from ourselves where only real wholeness
or completeness may occur."

Ultimately, the key to heaven is held within us. Not within something "out there" away from us that we must obtain. Work towards. Pay money for. Or earn by acts of contrition and penitance. But within. Not dissimilar to the movie, The Da Vinci Code, as the actors race from place to place looking for The Holy Grail not realizing the very thing itself was the thing present with them all the time.


The Da Vinci Code - Official Trailer 1 [2006] [720p HD]



The Lies We Tell Ourselves

Here's another saying,

"Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free."

Leading us to ask the question, "What is knowledge? What is truth?"

A simple definition would go like this,

"Knowledge is something that is known.
Truth is something that is true."

But is knowledge truth? Or can the knowledge we hold actually not be true of the truth we have thought was true knowledge?

Or, asked differently, is the truth that we believe is true actually a true truth? Or is it something else that really isn't true but gives to us an appearance to being true?

Psychologically, knowledge of truth usually brings to the surface of our lives what's already there within us. About ourselves that we already know or do not wish to know.

And yet, truth is that something that will act to change us either in healthy ways or unhealthy ways.

The Ghosts of Our Lives.

The symptoms to the problems of our lives which we hold deep within often betrays the "presence of an absence" to the real underlying problem within us that troubles us, moves us, or motivates us towards earthly expressions in character, presence, and action.

The symptom is the something that is there but not there. It is hidden from us. Or, absence from our sense of ourselves which perhaps others may more clearly see than we ourselves.

They are absent items that are present within us behaving as "felt ghosts" or "poltergeists" held deep within the machinery or our lives.

Usually my ghosts are not your ghosts. But both ghosts are the ghosts which hold repressed thoughts and feelings of personal spooks and specters which haunt us everyday of our lives. Which can disrupt us without transforming us. But, if they are allowed to be resurrected in our lives might bring the very transformation that we need.

Not the things we think we need. Nor bring to us the crystal cathedrals that are so shiny and pretty. No, these are the betrayers to the symptoms held deep within us. The personal knowledge of ourselves which we refuse to be resurrected to the truths of our being.

Hiding Ourselves in Plain Sight

We think of these things as reconfiguring structures that hide from us the true knowledge of the truth about us. They don't necessarily say what they mean to us but become expressed in a variety of personal ways that define us as us. And yet, buried deep within is the very thing that truly needs expression which we hold at bay allowing only glimpses of it without becoming fully displayed.

We don't say what we mean by saying what we cannot express. Words and actions become the metaphors of our lives. They are the political and psychological structures within us holding us hostage to its makeup. The stuff which frightens us when too boldly expressed. That we don't know what to do with when we see it. And then push it down again from our vision less it disrupts us.

Poetically, we wish to unhide that which is hidden. To bring to the surface what's not being said. To allow the evidence of ourselves to actually reveal what is actually there rather than not there.

But again, here is a place of real disillusionment. There are truths that can reform and allow for transformation. And there are truths that may bring us death when refusing its transformation.

In a sense, we wish to "name what refuses to be named" which brings us next to the idea of "crisis."

A Crisis of Being

A crisis is something that when brought up can rupture us with the result of bringing new life or a deeper death. It may be a crisis of relationship, as it often is. Relationships that are messy and requiring a crisis if they are to find a reformation between ourselves and others.

Here's another saying,

Some relationships need to be buried while others need resurrection.
Transformation cannot begin without some kind of action on our part.

These vulnerable places of transformation may be handled either directly, or indirectly. Sometimes one method of handling transformation is more successful than another method.

That is, we might work at transforming relationships by being "directly indirect" or "indirectly direct." We see this often in music, comedy, and art. They can push at an idea directly or indirectly to get us to acknowledge the something that's there but hidden. Something we do not wish to see.

Too, the idea of time comes up. How hard do we pursue a transformative-something into our lives without losing its objectives of personal insurrection? This is a God thing. At times the backwards look can be helpful. At other times the present and forward look. But pushed too far (or not far enough) holds us back from real transformation.

There is then presence of a Spirit-filled patience. To be content with ourselves and yet always discontent with the presence of non-transformation. To allow crisis within our being and yet to not expect that any one crisis may be enough for complete resurrection. To be patient with both ourselves and with God praying always for divine leading and wisdom.

The Value of Time and Living

Overall, its takes a lifetime of transformative experiences to bring us to the knowledge of the truth  of who we are and what we are seeking. Or perhaps never saw nor understood. Or saw but never wanted it present in our lives till now.

New knowledge can be radical. But it can also be defeating when radically present within us. Carried within ourselves without ever realizing that the key, or answer, to redemption was there all the time.

Not out there in this thing or that. But within. This is the kinds of stuff Jesus spoke to. That renewal began and ended within us through His Father. And that our journey was in all the in between stuff that would aid us in our journeys towards redemption, renewal, and transformation.

Allowing both the Good and the Bad

As such, do we let that foul mix of gruel residing within us remain within like a witch's brew? Hidden, as it were, to become infected and ulcerous?

Or, by the power of the Holy Spirit, let what was once repressed become confessed and healed and transformed?

To abandon the inner decorum of the lies and deceits that dresses up our lives without displaying itself. Remaining hidden on the edges of our lives without ever quite becoming visible to us while-all-the-while we think we are embracing truths about ourselves that are not true truths. But symptoms of truths still lying deeper. More hidden. Ugly, hurtful, death-like.

And yet, it is by the power of the Holy Spirit of God who can remove this stubbornly unyielding goo of our inner lives to death so that God's perilous life of light and healing become truly resurrected to the dead zones of our heart and soul and being.

No Guarantees

Certainly there is no guarantee of results by following the proverbial truths of life,

"Live well. Be wise. Create healing and wholeness
with tact, truth, and forgiveness."

In fact, these truths may actually hide ourselves from ourselves through acts of good works.

Not that they shouldn't be done. But what are the motivators to these good works? What are they hiding to us that we need to see more clearly? How often have you heard of ministers of God failing big time when finally their inner selves become exposed to themselves and their congregations?

Too often.

And why?

Because these good people with good intentions were hiding from themselves the very truths that needed clarity.

The heart can be a deceitful thing and oftentimes it is we ourselves who are the people that need transformation and resurrection. Not the other guy.

Making Choices

So then, by living a "good life" of expectations and good works we might expect three results:


Life still goes bad.

Life becomes better.

Or, we might begin a journey of discussion with ourselves and with others that may be self-revealing. Healing. Transformative.

It is this later that gives us hope.

To no longer repress the poltergeists within but to express the Holy Ghost within.

To become a new man or woman who is redeemed and remade by the Spirit of God within by living life by God's merciful healing and transformative experiences.

However hard. However painful.

But to allow His Spirit to sweep us as clean as He can given the restrictions of our unwilling heart and soul.

Living a truer life based upon a surer knowledge promising a truer something that is better. A something within us we know as the love of God given to us by Christ our Savior who binds up His broken people at all times, stages, and circumstances of their life both within and without.

Here's one last quote,

Learn to love. Both yourself and others.
And love the Lord your God, the Lover of your soul.


"'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all
your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind';
and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'" - Luke 10.27 (NIV)

R.E. Slater
October 31, 2014

based upon a sermon by Peter Rollins
at Mars Hill in Grandville, Michigan on October 19, 2014


Below is the link to Peter's discussion: "The Truth Will Set You Free"

No comments:

Post a Comment