Monday December 4, 2006
7 pm Francis MacNutt’s books arrived. I was pretty sure they would – I waited all day for them and the mail was late. I have read nearly 100 pages of The Nearly Perfect Crime: How the Church Almost Killed the Ministry of Healing.
I feel strongly this is vital to me. I see the divorce between church and metaphysicals, e.g. I see the conceptual gaps between two ways of seeing things. And the figure and reality of Jesus is a huge stumbling block to a common effort. It is as he said, he brings not peace but a sword.
Why is that? What does that accomplish?
If you are going to divide things rather than see them as a continuum, it is well to have one thing line to cross or not cross. This is the decision point. And it does not necessarily mean that those who seriously consider it will all take the same side, or should take the same side. But they organize themselves in relation to it. It organizes the field as a magnet organizes iron filings.
And the nature of that organizer?
Jesus is the measure of possibilities. If what he did is true, if what he said is true – life attains a meaning different from what it has if any of it is not true. It is a question of fact, as we have been stressing for you and through you this long time. Faith is well and good to bring you to experience, but faith not perfected by knowledge decays into a backward-looking, not a forward-looking hope, then to a pious wish, then to cynical disillusion and indifference or hostility.
Facts, not faith alone, will serve. Facts, used as facts should be used, orient toward reality rather than misunderstanding.
I wish I could see my way clear to be a member of a congregation of some kind, but I cannot. Religious ceremonies always have something at their core that I cannot assent to. I could participate only amid silent dissent – so what good is that? I also wish I could have the indwelling of the spirit to an entire degree, to transform my life, instead of the small amount I have. And yet what stands in my way more – to speak externally – than the nature of Christian communities I have experienced? If you exclude people like me, how can you expect me to include myself? I cannot – yet who gave them possession?