I was just reading Richard Bach's One and was at the story of the "Pages." The fundamental gist of the story is a moment where someone receives understanding from God. Incomprehensibly huge, amazing and deep understandings... and recognizes that to share those understandings is to risk forming a religion who wishes to share their understandings. In horror the characters perceive how the truth they received will be twisted into another opportunity to experience fear and hatred and decide to burn the pages.
When I was a child I believed what I was told to believe. One of the things I was told to believe was that the Bible was the word of God. I KNEW it was true. I had some people tell me it was just a book or that it was wrong and I KNEW they were wrong. It was years later when I finally started listening to peoples arguments showing me how the hand of man was deeply involved in the creation of the Bible that I started questioning the idea that it was the perfect word of God. Ironically, when I lost faith in the Book I used as the core of my faith I began to learn to listen.
My family raised me to trust the Bible as the final truth, but they were open to the idea that God speaks to us. In Song, Sign (Sometimes Literally) and even Voice. Even before I stopped being an active practicing Christian, I had a very intense experience where an Angel came, pulled me out of my body and took me to experience battle lines being drawn. Little details like: the Angel yanking you out of your body (didn't know that could be DONE!) without a thought, picking you up, examining you like an Ant, and "thinking" out loud in less than an eyeblink: "I don't know why HE gives a shit about such pathetic things like you, but HE commanded to bring you to experience this... so sigh... I guess I will." Those are the kinds of things that make these experiences really, really believable (if you were there of course...).
Little by little, as I experienced listening to God from outside the confines of the book and experiencing the direct clarity of communcation through 2-3 layers instead of 20+ I stopped considering the book as any more valuable than any others. I came to believe that everything here is a work of God. There was a long trip from Christianity to Paganism, but ironically a lot of the fundamentals didn't change. I still believe that there is only one Source. Source just received a promotion in my mental model as there are a lot of smaller G gods. I also believe that everything works out for the Glory of the Lord... it's just that I see "The Lord" as the entire loving and thinking Omniverse.
Re-reading "One" for this portion alone reminded me of how important it was to accept hearing truth in the way that works best for you clearly and directly. When a preacher is reading from a book that tells you that God loves you there are a LOT of layers between Source and you. Everything is perfect so you are going to receive exactly what you should... Sigh. That's the confusing part. I like hearing it with all of the intense perfect love. I like it when I get that special signed "Scott, I just wanted to remind you how much I love you. God." I've always paid better attention to lovingly handwritten notes instead of broad memos. So I suppose the point of this post is to help open up the idea of hearing and believing truth in the way that is right for you. I don't think that reading the Bible, Koran, Torah or any other religious book is going to be my prime way of hearing God. I like the personal touch. I listen to it better. However, I think I needed this article to be reminded that just because I like the personal touch doesn't mean that it's not okay for you to like the consistent corporate, published and edited feel. Both of them are ways for truth to speak...
I guess my next question is why we are so pressed to make sure others understand the truths we get. Do we think that the universe shot it's payload on helping us get it? Do we feel that somehow because we get it, our job it to help others understand? You know, as I think about it, It seems that the big understandings make huge waves. They shake us up and they are so awesome that we just want to help other people experience this awesomeness. In fact, for the time when we get this and it's still outside us, we haven't yet completely incorporated everything we are trying to be this idea, what better way to be it then to try to express it to another.
Perhaps teaching the idea is a sign that you haven't gotten it fully yet and that you are still "chewing it over." Says a lot about this website eh?
Power Before Wisdom