Heart-led Parables

Our mysticism is not as their mysticism.

One of the most confusing things we deal with is a vast legacy of Western-style mysticism. The Western version remains cerebral; it does not target a heart-led understanding. Instead, there is some nebulous goal of reaching a higher level of intellect. So you see a lot of Western mystics using tortured grammar in a bid to bump the mind into a higher orbit, as it were.

Consider the Parable of the Sower in Matthew 13. It’s a parable about parables, in one sense. The Twelve did not yet operate from their heart-minds, so they didn’t understand the parable. Jesus gave an explanation that was contextual for His disciples. The wording of the parable itself is contextual, but the spiritual truth within belongs to a higher realm. We don’t bump into higher orbits with our minds; we step into another dimension with our hearts. We aren’t elevating the mind, but subjecting it to a higher faculty.

Parables are seeds of the truth. They echo against our convictions. People with no link to their hearts cannot sense the convictions that God writes on every human heart. Parables beckon to that higher faculty. The Twelve were in that interval between an awakened sense of conviction, but minds poorly trained to respond to faith. Explaining the parable in their own context helped train their minds. The seeds were sown and took root. It waited until the rain of the Holy Spirit sent from above to bring forth fruit.

Did you see how I did that? Can you recognize how what I wrote above was at least an attempt to do what Jesus did for His disciples? I actually mixed two entirely different parabolic images, one from our modern space-faring context and one used by Jesus in His ancient agrarian society. If your awareness is in touch with your convictions, you should have little trouble seizing upon the moral imperatives indicated by my choice of words. You don’t need me to draw boundaries with words, but to indicate paths of exploration. That’s the difference between descriptive language (drawing boundaries around ideas) and indicative language (pointing to something that is boundless).

While we do face a little ambiguity with the term “symbolic logic” due to it’s association with math, there is a well-established meaning from the study of antiquities, a term philosophers use to point out a different approach to language and thinking. That second meaning of the term “symbolic logic” is equivalent to “parabolic logic” — logic of parables. In this case, the symbols are defined in the parabolic imagery of the Old Testament. This is why we need a big dose of ANE studies to bring those Old Testament parables to life. That’s a major intent of Bible study. We strive to breathe life into the ancient tales, to plow the field of the intellect and make it ready to receive divine truth and bear fruit to God’s glory.

But in the end, the truth indicated by parables does not rest on any language. We seek to escape the entire realm of linguistic boundaries. We use whatever language we have to paint signs that invite people to explore places no tongue can go. Our mysticism does not rest in words that the mind can grapple with, but calls for the mind to rest while the heart takes dominion.

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Don’t Get Too Comfortable

(More on the booklet background and our fundamental assumptions…)

I’m hoping you can see the connection between otherworldliness and the principle of disentanglement (my third pillar of Christian Mysticism). All Creation is just a tool for His glory — everything in your human existence in this world is tentative, a disposable tool. That includes every human relationship, even your blood kinships. Jesus said in so many words that if your family ties conflict with His calling in your life, then you’ll have to sacrifice those family ties (Matthew 10:34-40). It’s sad when something God granted as a blessing is so perverted you can’t use it for Him, but that’s the Curse of the Fall.

The accusation of “worldliness” means being too attached to this world. Like Lot’s wife, if you can’t sacrifice everything you know, you are the sacrifice. If you don’t begin to live from your heart by moving your sense of identity into the higher realm of moral discernment, then your own mind becomes the biggest chain of all. You cannot possibly manage your share of Creation’s assets as God intended because you end up blocking out the voice of God. It’s monumental arrogance to demand that God speak to your conscious intellect when He’s made it clear that only your heart is capable of hearing His voice.

This world is not my home;
I’m just a-passin’ through.
My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue.
The angels beckoned me from Heaven’s open door,
and I can’t feel at home in this world any more.

(words and music by Jim Reeves)

It’s not that we always have to accept the worst of this world’s accommodations, but that we invest no lasting interest in them. Does God provide a really fancy facility with lots of money and people? Don’t be trapped by that provision when He next asks you to do something that means abandoning all of that. Don’t allow the people involved to assume — even unconsciously — that the trappings of organization mean anything. That’s not “God’s House;” you are God’s House. If you can’t freely give something, then God can’t replace it with something better. Be aware of the moral context.

The particulars of how the first New Testament churches did things are not sacred. The narrative is loaded with contextual adaptations that may not fit our world today. Don’t make an idol of the things God has created for His glory; serve the Creator and see His glory without the stuff. This is the only way we can hope to bring His glory to life in our own context as we enter a time of great tribulation.

His glory is all the matters in this life.

Addenda: As a matter of vocabulary, please distinguish between “this world” and “Creation.” The former is a biblical figure of speech referring to the prevailing human culture, typical in defiance or ignorance of revelation. Creation is a term for everything that isn’t God’s divine Person. There is a connotation that Creation refers mostly to the unfallen part of our world, whereas “this world” is most distinctly fallen. If you are aware of these as specific terms, the context will usually indicate how these and related terms are used.

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Booklet Background

Let’s review some perspective we already know.

Religion is the struggle to answer a spiritual imperative.

Radix Fidem is not actually a religion, but an exercise in meta-religion. We strive to shed light on the process of answering the divine call. Everyone must develop their own religion; it is immoral to pass the job off to someone else. God calls individuals through the heart of convictions, and no other human can decide what God requires of you. What ties us together in communion is a contextual overlap in the results of that individual struggle. Our communion under the name “Radix Fidem” is a simple matter of sharing a certain amount of conviction about how one sets about the task of responding to God.

We all start under the Curse of the Fall. God calls us and we respond from within that context of our first awareness. Something in us comes to life and begins to hunger and thirst for His revelation; we truly want to please Him. It seems only natural that whatever religion grows from that desire will be like any other living thing, always growing and changing as we slowly escape the effects of the Curse. We seek to conform to His divine character and it cannot happen at once. Indeed, the promises in His revelation assume a life dedicated to endless seeking for a closer communion with Him.

But we never walk alone in this world. A critical element in revelation is the assurance that we will share a strong family kinship with others who are determined to please the same God. His revelation is actually quite functional in this matter. We do not allow our impulse to formalize our personal religion to serve as an excuse to push others away. Instead, we seek to discern just what can be shared and cooperate on that basis. Some will be closer than others; sometimes it’s life long and other times only until we are driven in different directions by our individual growth. We don’t cease caring about someone called onto a different path, but we cannot waste our Father’s resources chasing a human relationship that He didn’t grant.

But the purpose was never efficiency or accomplishment as humans measure such things. It was always a matter of shedding just one more layer of death and deception from our lives. It’s about living according to His divine character in communion with the rest of Creation. The mind does not rule; it was meant to serve the moral imperatives of conviction written in our hearts. We seek to conform to the divine character of God, to glorify Him by claiming all the blessings inherent in His revelation.

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Proposal: Radix Fidem Booklet

You knew I was plotting something, right?

I believe we need a booklet that expands on our Radix Fidem pamphlet. I suppose the simplest way to go about it is try to produce a short chapter for each item.

This is a parish wide call for participation. I don’t care if you’ve never so much as clicked “like” on one the posts here; you are welcome to participate. Those of you most active will at least need to be ready to act as an editorial board, so to speak.

I don’t want to restrict how people do this, only that we enter into a cooperative spirit. You can decide to collaborate if that’s your style, or take charge of one or more chapters, but whatever the case, you should obviously feel driven by conviction to get involved. However, a primary qualification is that you tend to feel unworthy. That’s the starting place for all my blather on this blog. It’s the apprehension that you will likely fail but you just can’t say “no” to God’s calling.

Take some time to pray. In the near future I’ll try to help set the tone by drafting some kind of introduction, or at least a preface. And if you would prefer to steal that role, jump right on it. This is my blog, but it’s your parish. It’s a parish because you choose to participate, and I want to ensure readers of this proposed pamphlet know it’s not a one-man cult-like thing.

Whaddaya say?

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Admin: Technical Issues with Kiln blog

Our pulpit blog at Kiln of the Soul is suffering a technical glitch. I’ve been chatting with our host there and it will require his expert care to intervene directly. Let’s avoid the Kiln blog for now; you might not see anything amiss, but it’s not working right for posting and such. When the host starts working on it, things might go crazy for anyone trying to visit the blog.

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Realm without Words

What can I tell you?

I don’t want meaning. I want peace and faith. I want a connection to the Creator so that I can discern His character directly in Creation. What my mind can make of these things is useless until I know the ultimate value God places on everything. So you can keep your content, words and meaning; I’m looking for something that is too powerful for words, too big for mere thought.

In a previous post I proposed a theory of sorts about why I felt so driven to take pictures. It’s not simply that a picture is worth a thousand words, but that some pictures speak a language above the intellect. Nobody has to admire my camera work; don’t look unless you feel something beyond your mind telling you there is something you need to see. That’s because those pictures are nothing more than a feeble attempt to grab something that calls to me on that higher level. I don’t claim it’s skill or talent, but an imperative that drives me from far above myself. God speaks without words, at least words as we know them.

I can’t tell you anything that really matters. My words, pictures and other output here might serve to indicate things that matter, but they don’t matter themselves. That’s the nature of parable and symbolism in the Bible. What really matters is in the realm of the heart. Everything else is, at best, just sign posts indicating a path for exploration. They beckon you to enter that Land without Words.

All I can tell you is my own reaction to what I find. Go, look for yourself.

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Kiln blog: Psalm 101

A psalm of David, you might imagine he wrote this as a vow upon ascending to the throne of Israel. However, it is rooted much farther back in David’s life when he was just a shepherd boy. The shepherd is the quintessential biblical image of moral manhood, and all the more so for one who actually cares for a flock of people. Anyone with social leverage is morally bound to this manner of leadership.

We dare not forget that the image of holiness is striving to maintain social order on God’s terms. The Law of Moses detailed what social stability meant in Israel, offering a clear path. David’s primary image of wickedness is someone who wanders from that path of moral truth. Do they want something not provided in the Law? Let them keep going and not come back; they don’t belong in the flock of Israel.

To read the rest of this study, click this link and visit Kiln of the Soul blog.

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