Posts Tagged ‘Truth’

So it is True?

Thursday, March 9th, 2017

We live in an age where the concept of “truth” is increasingly questioned in ways unimaginable a few decades go.  We truly are entering/ have entered a “post truth” era.

There are costs when all perspectives, however far fetched, are held as legitimate simply because someone holds them.  When all sources of news, of information become somehow equally valid.  When revelation, as it were, becomes a completely privatized, relativized affair.

For me, I enjoy my opinions frankly and I know enough to know I am often wrong, and therefore desperately need sources of truth outside of those cherished opinions.

For some things there are obviously many sides, many perspectives, many competing claims of truth as we see with the beautiful multitude of faith perspectives in the world.  For other arenas, like global warming, there are no legitimate counter facts.  Global warming is a fact, a truth.  How we handle it?  That is where a multitude of informed opinions can be brought to bear.

A cleaner division between truth and opinion remains worthy of deep human consideration.

Humility before the truth remains crucial to the human soul.

 

Not really getting it … and that is ok.

Tuesday, December 6th, 2016

We want to get “it.”  To understand life.  To be able to possess and offer the deep insight.  The truth.

But we are flawed.

Caught in our story, shaped by culture, molded by certain prejudices, we are in the end human.

The humility right there I believe critically forms us if we choose it.

The wisdom we do possess “are outward guises, appearances, of what is true and good… but if our lives focus on what is doing what is good the Lord adjusts them toward genuine truth.” (NJHD 21)

Goodness and truth … in the end … ONE.

Our efforts … in the end … imperfect, flawed, beautiful in God’s eyes.

Thomas Merton captured it well…

“My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it. Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.” 

Moving In and Moving Towards

Thursday, April 18th, 2013

Fascinating.  Just fascinating studying how Christianity moved from a group that numbers in the dozens to a movement that grew to the millions.  As one author noted, it did not start as a religion per se but as a gathering of hearts on fire.  And that start seems so critical to the endeavor we call Christianity.

At times, many centuries removed from the time of Christ, we start things with “hearts on fire” but maybe not often enough.  I look at this congregation.  I came late to the game, enjoyed the task, did the role but it was largely from interest, not from the blessed brokenness of a a heart on fire.  And now, more and more, a heart on fire.  That fire grows from simple witnessing …. a family lost in grief welcomed, new love newly celebrated in marriage, deeper purpose searched for and maybe found,  God’s ever present call to take one more step today.  Both a moving in and a moving towards… that seems to be how this all grows.

And love then gives rise to sight.  As Emanuel Swedenborg captured it:

“To the extent that truth becomes the leader good becomes obscured; but to the extent that good becomes the leader truth is visible in its own light.” (Heavenly Secrets 2407).

The heart bent to goodwill becomes the light by which we see.

 

Falling Through Your Life Situation to Your Life

Wednesday, October 20th, 2010

The false self – the ego, the proprium – is the tiny, petty, unconnected self.  And yet for most of us, we identify that as our true self.

The true self is far deeper.  It is our inmost, the place where God stores much of that Divine Spark that is His gift to us.

The journey to that place I read of many times growing up in the New Church.  It was a journey encapsulated in the admittedly awkward wording from Emanuel Swedenborg’s theological works – good from truth, then truth from good.  Later, the great wisdom in what is almost undecipherable words became apparent.

When young, we live largely in that false self.  We learn “stuff” and that “stuff” teaches us to care.  But do we actually “care”?  Usually not.  Usually here it remains at the pure theoretical.  When we do care, that care is very much driven by the false self for its own purposes.  Not that that is bad – it is a start.

But time wears on and God, in ways largely hidden from our view slowly flips the perspective.  Eventually our locus of control moves from our head to our heart.  At that point – truth from good – caring, loving kindness move our conscious mind, not vice versa. We move from knowing to care to caring and the knowing that comes from it. (Note, it is “knowing” that is far more intuitive, perceptive, far more even maybe mystical than what we previously experienced.)

That is where we fall through our life situation to our life to borrow the words of Eckhart Tolle.  The life situation holding the false self becomes just that.  We fall through the drama and frenentic pace of the false self attached to our life situation and fall into the solid ground of the true self – a place where God’s truth gives us the solid ground to stand upon regardless of external circumstances.  Here, no boundary needs “defended not abdicated.”

Really Enjoying NewChurch LIVE. What more could I read?

Thursday, July 22nd, 2010

Many folks who enjoy NewChurch LIVE ask what they could read. Not everyone is a reader, but if you are, these are my recommendations on where to start.

The Bible
I recommend starting with the New King James Version of the Bible. My favorite book in the Bible is the Gospel of John. It is often called the Gospel of Love with good reason. The New Church really are Gospel of John Christians with a twist in taking as truth Jesus’ words in that Gospel, “I and the Father are one.” No angry God, angry Father sacrificing His Son for our sins but a loving God come to earth in the form of Jesus Christ to save us by showing us how to live.

If you like history, go with a study bible that adds notes to flesh out the reading.

New Church Theology
I would recommend the New Century Edition of “True Christianity” by Emanuel Swedenborg. Volume I is currently available in the NCE. Volume II will be out shortly.

Notes About Canon
Religious Canon is a different kind of literature. It is not written with the consistently of a linear, narrative story being its primary concern. The primary concern is connecting God and man, to give us ideas by which we can live our lives. Therefore much of revelation is more closely attuned with poetry than prose. (Think, who can better describe the beauty and wonder of a sunset – a poem or a scientific article. I vote for the poem.)

Also, do not expect “perfection.” Theology is not about a perfect “answer” to every question in the world. It is not a mathematical equation. It more closely aligns with a compass than a map. Therefore don’t be thrown off by dated language or statements obviously well ensconced in a certain historical time period. Look for the deep ideas – the themes – underneath. Those “compass points” are where the transformation lies.

Finally, New Church Theology was drawn out of revelation based on the Bible and circles back to the Bible. New Church Theology is about “True Christianity” – a return to the roots of what Christianity truly means. Though we call ourselves the “New Church” the reality is that we are rather old and believe that in returning to those roots, we create something new.

Enjoy reading!

“I Know” and Blindness

Saturday, July 17th, 2010

Jesus warned – because we “know” we are blind. Interesting stuff especially given our immersion in a culture where knowledge is critical. What then is Jesus really saying?

He is warning us I believe in the kind of “knowing” that morphs into a rigid “rightness” – one in which no spaciousness exists.

That type of rigidity actually leads to ignorance. We avoid the question, “What can I learn from this person, from this situation?” and replace it with the need to convince the other, to make the other wrong, to prove ourselves right.

By its very nature that perspective pushes the world into smaller and smaller slices of “rightness” in which “wrongness” is discounted.

That is a daily battle – knowing what we know, standing for what we stand for, while at the same time retaining the plasticity of spirit that allows others to feel safe and at home even in areas where perspectives differ. That kind of grace is the grace whose light we can rest in!