Jesus the measure of possibilities

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?

2 thoughts on “Jesus the measure of possibilities

  1. I’m with you on this one, Frank, and I speak as a recovering “born again.” Organized religion carries no attraction for me anymore. The idea of attending a service to worship a God who doesn’t need or want my adoration seems kind of weird. Connecting with the One and feeling my oneness with all is much more attractive to me. That seems to make more sense now, given my change in understanding, after years of OBE work and contemplation.

    What other use is organized religion? Fellowship with like minded people. And I felt that I was a closet pretender my last years in the church, knowing that I didn’t think the same way. Becoming one of the unchurched was a relief.

    While I’m put off by organized religion, I’m fascinated by Jesus. He didn’t intend to start a religion. He intended to reform Judaism, to return it to its heart, and invite people to know God like he did. (I often wonder what Christianity would have looked like if it hadn’t become the state religion of Rome.) Jesus had good biographers, but they were not telling history. They were writing to make a point, and a bit of poetic license was common practice. If a mere tenth of what they said about Jesus was fact, and a mere tenth of the miracles actually happened, this Jesus guy was still a pretty awesome dude. Being deeply connected to the same spirit to which he was connected is something I desire. It is my daily practice to grow that connection.

  2. Good session. I like your last paragraph particularly, because it speaks to my own history. “If you exclude people like me, how can you expect me to include myself? I cannot–yet who gave them possession?”

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