ELEPHANTS



For some of us ‘denial’  is a form of religion. It enables us to justify the dead albatross about our neck and rationalises our serial fade-outs. We can be put-out, duck our head, trudge stolidly on, adopt a sulk and put put our head in the sand - the sand which is also our elephant in the room. Smothering ourselves and others under the elephant who sits on us, we make a virtue of our blindness and shrink our humanity in the name of God. For us, in this mode, there is an elephant in every room; in every situation, sermon or conference. The elephant is the illusion we have adopted as the framework of our life. It is the conceit that morphs every piece of truth that comes towards us into a support of the illusion that binds us and flattens our humanity.

Our life is either an adventure or a stagnation, a progression or ceaseless circling around the mulberry bush or a happy advance from glory to glory. So we circle and circle. We circle around the  notion that what have believed in all our lives is - a grave distortion of the gospel of the Kingdom. Richard Rohr writes,

‘Greek hubris was precisely the refusal to be humbled by what should have been humbling. Notice how no American president can fully admit that his war or his policies were wrong—ever. Popes and clergy have not been known for apologizing. Such pride and delusion was the core of every Greek tragedy—and became the precise staging for the transformation of Jesus himself into a new kind of life that we called the Risen Christ.’

A RELIGION OF VEILS

Jesus was never wrong. But neither did he cling to ‘what is.’ Never captured by the status quo He literally died to self in his cross and rose to to be the New Adam in which the rest of us would find new creation life. Easter Sunday, the day Jesus rose from the dead was the first day of new creation life, the first day of our rebirth from separated Adam to ‘one with God you.’

In Christ our veils, illusions, false doctrines bad theologies and ‘other gospels’ are removed. If they are not fading away we need to examine if our christ is the Christ of God. Is our Jesus, Father’s Jesus? Could it be that our Jesus is the product of our fear, our misgivings about God and the end result of religiosity and bad teaching? Could it be that our christ is a false christ - a distortion of the Son of God? Is it so that our non-jesus is the reason that our veils are not taken away and that we have made a religion out of veils?

STUMBLING STONE

But God speaks to us in our life and through its events and challenges. Over ten years ago I had persistent dream and continuing impression where I saw a group of Believers crossing a high plateau on a rocky mountain. The trail was rough and stony but another impediment, another obstacle came into view. There was a line of rough, jagged rocks across the track. The walkers came to them, stumbled and were unable to get past them. The rocks were a picture of the law that was holding people back from Christ. Or more accurately they were a picture of the stumbling stone that is Christ when He presents Himself as our life rather than as a way to relate to the non-life of the law.

‘Law’ can be the attempt to live from Moses. Or the quest to live from morals and values. ‘Religion’ is the most ‘subtle’ kind of law - the attempt to earn the union with God that is already ours by trying hard. But it is these religious attempts, solidified in churchianity and promoted by the Christian Industry that negate what is ours and confuse us about the inheritance we already possess. In this kind of cultural milieu Christ died for nothing and we remain in our own coma in our self-made body of death.

THE LARGER JOURNEY

Richard Rohr observes, ‘Sooner or later, if you are on any classic “spiritual schedule,” some event, person, death, idea, or relationship will enter your life that you simply cannot deal with, using your present skill set, your acquired knowledge, or your strong willpower. Spiritually speaking, you will be, you must be, led to the edge of your own private resources. At that point you will stumble over a necessary stumbling stone, as Isaiah calls it; or to state it in our language here, you will and you must “lose” at something. This is the only way that Life-Fate-God-Grace-Mystery can get you to change, let go of your egocentric preoccupations, and go on the further and larger journey. I wish I could say this was not true, but it is darn near absolute in the spiritual literature of the world.’ (1)

In Jesus is life and that life is the light (revelation and truth) of every man and woman. The question is, ‘Are we there yet’ or still making religion out of stumbling and circling?

(1) Rohr, Richard. Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life (pp. 65-66). Wiley. Kindle Edition.