Thinking back on the torches at Charlottesville...
“Let him who walks in darkness and has no light
Trust in the name of the LORD and rely on his God.
Behold, all you who kindle a fire,
Who equip yourselves with burning torches!
Walk by the light of your fire,
and by the torches that you have kindled!
This you have from my hand:
You shall lie down in torment.”
This is when I gravitate to that concept of a punishing God that I have studied, meditated, prayed so hard to be free of, walking as I do daily in God’s Grace, forgiveness, and love. I want oppressors, enslavers, to suffer and see concrete evidence that God is just and sees what is going on. But I am called to trust in the unseen.
This is where so much of the spirituality of the yoga studio and intellectuality of the morally righteous, both left and right, falls short for me. What makes sense to me and is my experience is that there are spiritual laws and profound consequences for the justification of being out of alignment with their truth, their light, and their way. The consequences obviously don't all manifest on this plane unless all the men in the above photo are suffering terribly right now, not from my perspective, but from the inside out, their own inner reality.
My first sponsor in AA told me that everyone is gifted with a profound moment of clarity when they realize the fallacy and disfunctionality of their self-driven paradigm, the "matrix" they were born into, the "gift of desperation." This purpose of this moment is not to catapult us into a life of self-improvement but rather to surrender us to spiritual laws, to encourage us to let go of what is blocking us from living in accordance with those laws: (e.g. humility, hope, courage, honesty, integrity, willingness, surrender, love, justice, perseverance, prayer, meditation, service....)
That's where the rubber hits the road, yes? Others in the 12-step programs show that its "design for living" works. Jesus taught and walked those same laws principles. His resurrection bears witness at a different level to the reality of "the unseen;" when faced with "men with torches," with corruption, racism, ineffective educational systems, global warming, it is unwise to diminish the truth of the fourth dimension. C.S. Lewis talks about those who reduce Jesus to a "great moral teacher."
.I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him:
"I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God."
That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”
― C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
or listen to Bono from U2 being interviewed by an agnostic.
Assayas: Son of God, isn’t that farfetched?
Bono: No, it’s not farfetched to me. Look, the secular response to the Christ story always goes like this: he was a great prophet, obviously a very interesting guy, had a lot to say along the lines of other great prophets, be they Elijah, Muhammad, Buddha, or Confucius. But actually Christ doesn’t allow you that. He doesn’t let you off that hook. Christ says: No. I’m not saying I’m a teacher, don’t call me teacher. I’m not saying I’m a prophet. I’m saying: “I’m the Messiah.” I’m saying: “I am God incarnate.” And people say: No, no, please, just be a prophet. A prophet, we can take. You’re a bit eccentric. We’ve had John the Baptist eating locusts and wild honey, we can handle that. But don’t mention the “M” word! Because, you know, we’re gonna have to crucify you. And he goes: No, no. I know you’re expecting me to come back with an army, and set you free from these creeps, but actually I am the Messiah. At this point, everyone starts staring at their shoes, and says: Oh, my God, he’s gonna keep saying this. So what you’re left with is: either Christ was who He said He was the Messiah or a complete nutcase. I mean, we’re talking nutcase on the level of Charles Manson. This man was like some of the people we’ve been talking about earlier. This man was strapping himself to a bomb, and had “King of the Jews” on his head, and, as they were putting him up on the Cross, was going: OK, martyrdom, here we go. Bring on the pain! I can take it. I’m not joking here. The idea that the entire course of civilization for over half of the globe could have its fate changed and turned upside-down by a nutcase, for me, that’s farfetched
I believe he is and says he is the Son of God, distinct from God the Father.
What does Jesus have to say about himself? Here is a snippet. While reading, please remember that Jesus was a black man as you think on these words. He was speaking to his friends, his people, who were afraid of losing him, who were oppressed, who were hunted, persecuted. Leave your old ideas of the Biblical characters behind.
"Let not your hearts be troubled.
Believe in God; believe also in me.
In my Father's house there are many rooms.
If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?
And if I go and prepare a place for you,
I will come again and will take you to myself,
that where I am you may be also.
And you know the way to where I am going.
Thomas said to him,
"Lord, we do not know where you are going.
How can we know the way?"
Jesus said to him,
"I am the way, and the truth, and the life.
No one comes to the Father except through me.
If you had known me, you would have known my Father also.
From now on you do know him and have seen him."
Can you see a contemporary black father speaking to his children in this way? We know Jesus was a High Priest who took on human form, like others of the Order of Melchizedek. We know the Father through the son. That makes sense. The two are distinct but Jesus reflects the nature, the words, the image (not physical) of God. When we embody and walk in spiritual principles (which Jesus and/or the 12 steps show, teach, guide us how to do), we become children of God, too, spiritual brothers and sisters, reborn.
So there are many rooms in the Father's house that are prepared for us. For me, the magic access, the portal to the "inner room" is more like, "Get me out of this fucking room!!!!" I realize again and again that of myself, there is nothing of worth that I can do to escape me, myself, I.
"My brain does things that are not in my control," as Rosy said yesterday.
I need a relationship with God and a "design for living" that can restore me to sanity as surely as the men of Charlottesville with their torches.