The devil and a bit of truth

The devil and his friend were walking down the road when they noticed a passer by pick something up off the ground.  The friend wondered aloud as to what the person had found.  Satan replied that they had picked up a piece of Truth.  His friend was chagrin, “You can’t just let people go around finding Truth, can you?  I mean, what kind of world would this be….?” 

The devil laughed out loud and calmly reassured his friend, “Oh don’t worry, they’ll just turn it into a belief…I’ve seen this a million times before!”  Somehow Satan’s friend didn’t look convinced to which the devil addressed his final comment, “Just ask Jesus.  He’s came into the world and embodied Truth and look what happened to him…his disciples just ended up founding Christianity!”

Relieved, the friend mused, “Yeah, I guess you’re right…nothing to be worried about I suppose.”

The Truth Shop

There’s a story that I’ve become fond of recently:

A man was wandering through the famous Portobello Street in London taking in all the bizarre shops and sights when, hardly believing his eyes, he saw a sign over a door front that read: “Truth Shop“.  Needless to say he decided it was best to investigate. 

The saleswoman was extremely polite. She asked what type of truth the man would like to purchase, partial or whole?  The man didn’t think twice about the choice.  No more defenses. No more rationalizations or justifications. No more deceptions.  Only the plain, unadulterated, and absolute truth.  She waived the man to the other side of the store. 

The salesman on that side of the store pointed to the price tag.  “The going rate of absolute truth is very high sir,” he said.  “Well, what is it?”  the man asked, determined to get the whole truth no matter what the cost.  “Your certainty sir. Your certainty.” 

And so the man went away sad. The cost of Truth was to great.  He needed to hold on to the security of his certainties more than he needed the truth he sought.

The Seeker #4

The Seeker once commented that it might be better if we called God a word such as “mud” or “worm.”  When asked why, he replied that if we did this then perhaps we would not become so attached to those sort of words, or in danger of imaging that they somehow could contain the event that we name (rather flippantly) God. We would know, he mused, that the event of God was beyond these rather stupid and ill suited words we use to signify meaning.

The Seeker #3

The Seeker would often take comfort in the difference between Truth and fact.  He would say that fact is what is perceived to have happened and perhaps how it happened.  But Truth is the why we assign to it.  Truth is always more intangible than fact. Fact can be articulated and explained. Truth cannot be.

The Seeker #2

It is said that when the Seeker was much younger he was traveling through the most Holy of cities. As he came to the outskirts of that great place he passed by a pool said to have healing properties, making all who stepped in its waters whole.  Suddenly a voice called out to him, “Good sir!  Can you help me into the waters?”  The Seeker looked around him and spotted the man who had called out and saw that he was blind.

“How did you know that I was here to call out to?” asked the Seeker.

“Because I was listening and I heard you as you neared” replied the blind man.

Astounded, the Seeker responded quickly, “Then you are already more whole than many in this blind world.  Now go, teach others how to hear what they cannot see.”

———-

Much later on in life the Seeker retold this story to a traveling companion.  He then said if he could do it all over again he would simply have carried the blind man to the pool.  Replied his companion, “But do you think he would have been healed?”  To which the Seeker commented that it did not matter in the end, for he had not acknowledged the chance that it could have occurred.

“I was young then.  I had no sense of wonder. I had not yet discovered the possibility of the im/possible. The blind man had more sight than I.  So is the history of our youth.”

The justice of God

The end had come and all the nations and people had gathered around the judgement seat of God to await the justice he would execute.  Sinners, evil doers, doubters, and the apathetic trembled as one by one they approached the throne.  Shockingly though as they came before him, God waved his hand and sent them on their way–they were free to go!  The scum of the universe were not sentenced to eternal punishment or damnation–but simply were free to go, as they always had, away from God–out of his presence.  The throng of angels and saints were appalled and indignent.  There were cries for God’s righteousness and justice to be exacted.  However all shouts fell silent as the Son of God emerged from among the crowd. Strongly and confidently he set out in hot pursuit of the criminals.   As the Son neared the edge of heaven an angel gathered the courage to ask what he would do to them once he caught up with them.  Looking kindly on the servant of God, Jesus answered, “I’m going to show them the Way.”

Reconcilliation alone will save the world. Justice is often just another word for revenge.

The Dance

This is a Hasidic story. I’m using it here because I wanted to emphasize the non-either/or aspect of enlightenment (transcendence) versus experience.  They are both important.  A situation may call for either…or both/and.  Partially this is where BroJohnny’s last comment took me, I thought of this story. Enjoy

A Jewish community in Russia were on the outskirts of civilization and did not have their own Rabbi, so they had to depend on the graces of traveling, itinerate teachers to visit them.  One such holy man was scheduled to arrive and the whole town was filled with anticipation–this was their one opportunity that year to have many troubling questions answered.  They readied their deepest dilemma’s in the hopes of receiving solutions from the traveling Rabbi.  

When he arrived he entered into the synagogue where most of the towns people had gathered.  He could sense their anxiety and the heaviness of their questions. 

Without saying a word he looked around the room, deeply and intensely peering into their faces and gazing into their eyes. They too began to look around, from one to the other, curious what he could be seeing.  Then he began to hum a somber and haunting melody.  Not sure what to do one of the town elders also began to hum, joining in the same song.  One by one the people of the village followed suit.  The hum of the Rabbi turned into a full chorus and he sang words they all knew. They too sang with him.  After a bit he started to sway back and forth, first this way and then that, positioning one foot in front of the other until he was truly dancing.  The towns people did not know what to do at all but as before followed his example.  There they found themselves singing and dancing, moving their bodies in the timeless rhythms of Love and Suffering, giving expression to the motions that humanity effortlessly articulate.  For over an hour this continued until the Rabbi stopped.  The men and women of the community stopped to. They were tired, but seemed to glow from the exertion.  A silent peace permeated the room. 

At this moment the Rabbi said the only words he would say during the entire visit. “I trust that I have answered all of your questions.”  And he had.

How (Not) to Write a blog

I have a thousand things I want to talk about…consequentially I can’t talk about any of them…I believe this is what Pete Rollins calls hypernimity…the abundance of content leads to an inability to speak of it. 

1) the difference between organic and organic

2) looking at the (un)knowability of God pictured in the Exodus story.seen trough the name of Moses

3) the parable of the prodigal God

4) how true community seems like it is more or less experienced in the process and the journey rather than sought after or arrived at

5) the grudge match between the uber minute hair split of “presumptuousness” and “certainty”

6) defining that “fundamentalism” is NOT exactly interchangeable with the word “conservative”…just with being “narrow minded”

7) why television is a bigger glut than it’s ever been and why that’s ok with people–why do we keep on watching? And how a Spanish Romantic Game Show is the best hour on TV from 7-8pm PST, M-Th.

8) faith without doubt is dead

9)  why I increasingly feel out of sync with churchianity–and what to do about that.

10) The pretentiousness of music snobs like myself–not being able to craft a better pop song and calling that art

11)    The CHOICE of “the dark night of the soul” versus the EXPERIENCE of it

12)  Why I’m cranky these days

13) Sufism and spinning

14) Enneagram and why every person serious about a personal journey needs to question their motives and acknowledge their shadow

15) the fact that empiricists (Christian, secular, and otherwise) sound idiotic at best.

17) being hearers of the word and doers

18) how I sold my soul for 2.50 in 9th grade to a guy who later went to Fuller (it really explains so much in retrospect)

19) why having an agenda is a guilty pleasure–no one admits they’ve got one but we all do…and maybe we should…

20) …there’s a lot more where these came from…

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