Infallible vs. Mystic

straight not narrow

“The wisdom of the ancients has been lost on these ego-driven, self-righteous, inerrant, infallible, literalistic religionists. The mystics of Christianity, Buddhism, Islam and Judaism present a theology of compassion, sacrifice, voluntary poverty, and intelligence.” – LarryPaulBrown

Infallible – incapable of making mistakes or being wrong.

Mystic – a person who seeks by contemplation and self-surrender to obtain unity with or absorption into the Deity or the absolute, or who believes in the spiritual apprehension of truths that are beyond the intellect.

There are certain verses in the Bible that many Christians have interrupted as God’s (and I guess Jesus to because you know the 3 in 1 thing) position that homosexuality is a sin.

Romans 1:26-27 “Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.” 

1 Corinthians 6:9-10“Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.”

Matthew 19:3-6“Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?”

“Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh?’ So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.”

There are 7,956 verses and 138,020 words in the New Testament. For many, 7,956 infallible verses and 138,020 infallible words.

One of my readers and frequent commentators, the wise, the calm Larry Paul Brown offered the insightful comment above about my post Is Donald Trump the new face of American Christianity?

I responded to Larry Paul that I like the word “mysticism” much better than “infallible” and that for me the difference in these two words is what has become the divide in the way many of us approach and live within our faiths. For too many of us the path to enlightenment or salvation, however you want to view it, has become “infallible” that is, there is only one path, my path, not yours and that rigidness applies to Christians and Muslims, Republicans and Democrats alike.

I continued with Larry Paul that I wish we could get back to simply examining and living in the world with wonder. What has happened is many of us are so busy making our world infallible that we miss the wonder and the wonder-full people standing right in front of us.

There is no bigger battle in the Christian community than how we should react and treat people in the LGBTQ community. I had a lady respond to one of my post about the subject with this little gem of wisdom; “Are you suggesting that as Christians we are to remain silent on the seriousness of the sins committed against God by homosexuals, knowing full-well about God the Father’s fury, and hellfire destruction, of Sodom for those very same sins? If we followed that path, we would no longer be Christians, we’d just be JERKS!” 

For this lady the scripture, the WORD OF GOD (cue the thunder) is infallible. But here is one of her many, many problems, she is using a fallible brain, and a flawed and weak heart to interpret the Divine. We are no position to clarify or illuminate the Divine, we think we are, and some believe very strongly that they are qualified to do so. But they aren’t, they can’t and the harder they try, the louder they protest it confirms for me that they have missed not some of God’s message but all of it.

What I have noticed about getting older is we tend to take two different directions. Some people become more forgiving in their beliefs while other become more rigid. As I have gotten older I have become more lenient, and more tolerant. I was much more conservative in my thirties and forties than I am today. But things happened, my heart softened, I slowed down and I created space, space between the verses and space between the words.

I understand how easy it is to get hung-up on all the Thou Shalt Not’s. But I also understand how much courage and heart it takes not to. I have told my kids for years that the easiest answer is “NO”. No, takes very little thought just as Thou Shalt Not requires very little contemplation. My God, the God I feel, the God I know expects more reflection and deliberation from me on the verses and words. To discover the mysticism in there ambiguity and to understand that they are just verses and words, not love, not compassion, empathy or forgiveness, just verses and words.

 

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About ends and beginnings blog

I am a frustrated writer and poet waiting to be discovered. A stand-up philosopher performing on a street corner near you. A Christian with questions but I don’t want to hear your answers. A Buddhist with a bumper sticker on my truck to prove it. A collector of quotes. A grower of lettuce. The Patron Saint of earthworms who name their children after me. A cyclist whose big ass strains the seams of his Lycra bibs. I am American by birth, Southern by the grace of God. My goal in life is to leave an imprint on the lives of the people I love not a footprint on the earth. I am a son, a husband, a father composed of 65%-Oxygen, 18%-Carbon, 10%-Hydrogen, 3%-Nitrogen, 3%-Diet Coke and 1%-Oreo.
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24 Responses to Infallible vs. Mystic

  1. For the 1st time in many years and certainly since following your blog….I am at a loss for words. Thank you for endorsing who and what I am, for using my thoughts in your writing, for also envisioning a world fueled by compassion and Truth. I’m honored.
    Ahhhh, I feel some words coming to me….hold on, yes, the words are forming….aw hell, just another brainfart.
    P.S. Your opening graphic is just too awesome.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Being a good little Texas Baptist, I was taught homosexuality is a sin. But also, I was taught so is discrimination, prejudice, bigotry, hatred, vandalism, violence…

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Great line

    “To discover the mysticism in there ambiguity and to understand that they are just verses and words, not love, not compassion, empathy or forgiveness, just words.”

    Patton Oswalt has a bit, for someone who uses the bible to attack homosexuality. Goes something like Well, I’m glad you like a book.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. The Creator creates space also so I think you must be doing something right! Also, God either is unconditional love or he/she/it is not. There is not going back and forth to suit your purposes. Anyone who wants to start quoting bible verses to me, do not waste your breath. I am no longer a Christian and I only believe in the bible what sounds like God talking and not human beings with agendas.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I vote for unconditional. The old testament God is just that old. The lost people of Israel needed that kind of authoritarian figure but that kind of ruler died with Christ. Sadly people, read “Christians” like to bring up Her old wrath to justify their us against them mentality. Thank you for reading and taking the time to share your thoughts. ~ Peace

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Barton Jahn says:

    The working motto for Christian ministry for centuries has been: “love the sinner, hate the sin.” These two things are not mutually exclusive. Loving the sinner does not mean Christians must embrace “otherness” or “inclusiveness” in the extreme to the abandonment of our principles. Being a city on a hill means standing for something.

    Paul brought the gospel message to the polytheistic, idol-worshiping Gentiles in the first century Greco-Roman world…but he did so through the super-humility of knowing that although a highly educated Pharisee…he was worse than these Gentiles because he was wrong to the point of persecuting the early church…mistakenly persecuting Jesus Christ the actual Messiah that Paul was working so hard against…before Damascus.

    There is a valid reason why heterosexual marriage is better than homosexuality…God created men and women differently for a dynamically ingenious reason. Homosexual people are missing out on the unique and brilliant invention of the male and female relationship.

    Everyone is a sinner. I am a Spirit-born Christian yet still flawed…making mistakes and falling short often…to my disappointment.

    If Christians approach everyone with humility and Holy Spirit provided love…like Paul we will not look down our nose at anyone…not condemn anyone…but rather share our faith in Christ and let God do the transforming work as needed…whatever our individual problem is that needs fixing.

    Like

    • I was “mostly” okay with where you were going until I got here; “There is a valid reason why heterosexual marriage is better than homosexuality…God created men and women differently for a dynamically ingenious reason. Homosexual people are missing out on the unique and brilliant invention of the male and female relationship.”

      As I read this, I get the impression, and please correct me if I am wrong, that you feel, maybe even believe that homosexuals have a choice, or maybe a better way of saying it, have made a choice. The gay men and women that I know aren’t gay because they have chosen to be gay, they are gay because that is their physiological human nature. As one of my gay friends told me once, “Why would I choose this if it wasn’t who I am?”

      There is very little perfect in this world, my personal problem with some Christians is they think they are on the only path of and towards perfection. They aren’t, and the people they step on and over proves that to me and others everyday.

      After JC’s death there were two movements, one led by his brother James and one led by Paul. James wanted exclusive, Paul wanted inclusive. Unfortunately the modern Christian church has taken the path of James rather than Paul. Humility is in short supply, and compassion and charity come at a cost, the cost accepting their beliefs.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Barton Jahn says:

        You make some strong and good points. The question of “I was born this way and cannot change” is at the heart of the current cultural war about homosexuality.

        Correct me if I am wrong…but isn’t their an inherent stubbornness about saying “this is who I am and God can’t…is incapable of changing me.” How many homosexuals have actually surrendered their lives to Jesus Christ and entered into an adventure of faith like those of Abraham, Joseph, Moses, David, Peter, and Paul?

        How many churchgoers have surrendered their self-sovereignty to Jesus Christ and entered in their God-composed journey of faith life-scripts?

        In some families their seems to be a predilection towards alcoholism…we all know people who have struggled enormously to get free of their bent toward alcoholism…attending AA meetings, etc.

        In my own family we seem to have an inherited bent toward pride…I cannot recount how many struggles and challenges I have gone through in my journey of faith…knocking this debilitating character trait out of me.

        I personally treat everyone I meet with respect and value…regardless of race, sexual preference, or economic status.

        Every Christian who has truly been forgiven for their shortcomings will not “step over anyone.”

        I would argue that there is not a bit of difference between James and Paul…but that is too long of a discussion.

        Glad I bumped into your post this morning.

        These are difficult issues and worth our time contemplating.

        Like

        • I am sorry but for me you give God to much earthly power and credit. Where is God when children are murdered in their school? If She can change a homosexuals desires then why not change the mind and the outcome of a man headed to an elementary school to gun down innocent children?

          And as for your comment; “Every Christian who has truly been forgiven for their shortcomings will not “step over anyone.” the wildcard, the point of contention, is the word “truly”. Who are you and who am I for that matter, to judge who has “truly been forgiven”? It, like the Christian faith is subjective and up for a million different interpretations. Ever heard of the Westboro Baptist Church? Have you ever experienced their interpretation and brand of Christianity?

          My view is very simple, the Christian Church, particularly the Evangelical Christian Church has not, is not, and will not evolve. They have chosen a path and have told they rest of the world to either join us or get the hell out of our way. I adhere to the thought of H.H. the Dalai Lama, “People take different roads seeking fulfillment and happiness. Just because they’re not on your road doesn’t mean they’ve gotten lost.” If your path is filled with compassion, love and grace for all people and creation then go in peace. But if you judge those who don’t believe as you do, if you spend more time trying to convert them rather than help then good luck on your journey because it is a journey of luck, not faith.

          Liked by 3 people

      • At the age of 16, my youngest son, Christian, said of his oldest brother, John who was gay, “I know it is not a choice for him, mom. Being gay must make life more difficult. I know John would not have purposefully made his life more difficult.” I am proud of my son’s intelligence and compassion! I think that the attitude that it is a choice is very cruel and condescending.

        Liked by 3 people

    • persedeplume says:

      Hi Barton~
      If believing the things you do makes you a better person and gives you comfort on cold dark nights, then more power to you. Many people can’t live in that state of certainty. In that regard, I think you’re fortunate. If you don’t mind, I’ve got a question that I remain puzzled about. You don’t need to answer here if you don’t want, but I would really like you to think about this because it’s important. You see, I grew up in an evangelical home, went to Seminary, had desires to enter the ministry. So I’m familiar with your thinking.
      Where in the bible does it say “go ye into all the world and make sure the sinners aren’t doing things I disapprove of”? I studied the bible for decades and I never found that exhortation. That would, in my thinking, fly in the face of the notion of free will. I don’t expect you to approve of homosexuality. As a christian, be in the world and not of it. I approve of that too. Live your life as a shining example.
      Here’s the thing: if you’re on a diet, it’s still ok if others eat donuts. I trust that God will sort it out in the end if that’s what’s true.

      Liked by 3 people

    • Swarn Gill says:

      There is a valid reason why heterosexual marriage is better than homosexuality…God created men and women differently for a dynamically ingenious reason. Homosexual people are missing out on the unique and brilliant invention of the male and female relationship.

      The fact that you believe God created anybody is simply a belief. There is no evidence for this, so to take a moral stance against a consensual, loving relationship between two humans can cause real harm. Nobody can stop you from believing such a thing, but to try to force others in society to adhere to a definition of marriage that you believe in, is simply unethical.

      It could also be that heterosexual people are missing out on the brilliant male/male or female/female relationship. It’s a type of romantic love you will never know, so how do you know you aren’t missing something wonderful?

      People will still have babies, people can love who they want to love, and marry who they want to marry provided they are consensual relations, and at 7 billion people there is no danger of humanity dying out. There is no intrinsic moral harm to loving relationships between two people of any gender.

      It is interesting how much Christians have been misled as it is only modern translations of the bible that are concerned with homosexuality. Older translations use different words when you go back to ancient Greek take on different meanings. Verses against homosexuality seem more directed at lust and rape, rather than consensual loving relationships. There is a reason why homosexuality was not considered a big deal until much later in Christianity. https://www.stopbibleabuse.org/biblical-references/paul/malakos.html

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Nan says:

    AWoman, my blogging friend. Well said. Well said. (As usual.)

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Nan says:

    Reblogged this on Nan's Notebook and commented:
    Well worth reading. Even … or perhaps, especially … the comments.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. koppieop says:

    Please allow me to quote an episode from a Q & A program of the Australian tv (it is on youtube). The panel included an openly homosexual (Anglican) priest and a Protestant pastor. When the pastor stated that homosexuality was “a choice”, a young boy in the audience asked him:
    “Sir, can you tell us when you chose to be straight?”
    One of the most brilliant questions I ever heard on this topic, one that should be made at the beginning<I< of each discussion.As it is unanswerable, it may also mark the end?

    With due respect, I see an unintended similarity with the name of your blog – that I found when visiting Nan’s Notebook.. Regards.
    .-

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you for visiting and for taking the time to share your thoughts. It means the world to me. One of the many mantra’s that I live by include; “The World is round and the place which may seem like the end may also be the beginning.”-Ivy Baker Priest or said another way by the late, great, Mister Rogers, “Often when you think you’re at the end of something, you’re at the beginning of something else.”

      Liked by 2 people

  9. E&B —

    I’m here from Nan’s blog. Thought I’d see what she felt was well written.

    I am in complete agreement with you E&B about judgmental, intolerant Christians toward ANY people/person not following the Bible’s commandmments and admonishments. Of course, this would include their own Believers as well. But the confusing message about sin (and its reply) is not only a result of poor exegesis of the combined Old and New Testaments by followers and many church leaders, but is a result of an amputated (canonical) Scripture(s) taken out of exhaustive contexts over a period of several millenia written first from oral traditions spread out over several thousand square miles of territories within various empires from many independent authors, then poorly combined in non-chronoligical order with many ambigious words, meanings, and passages! It is really no surprise at all there is so much contention and disagreement within the Christian churches and seminaries around the world. The fact there are well over hundreds to thousands of distinctly different Christian branches — and let’s not forget those that were exterminated in the 4th thru 13th centuries CE by the Roman Empire and later the Roman Catholic Church — teaching different variations of the Old and New Testaments is evidence enough to this confusion that lasts up to today! This is a fact that no Christian can deny. Hence, this is the first MAJOR problem with the illusion/delusion of “infallibility.” Period.

    Because I look at the Christian and Jewish bibles from observable historical and contextual lenses, I come at this sin/LGBTQ controversy from a completely DIFFERENT angle: the empirical stats, facts and evidence. And I confidently assert these empirical stats, facts, and evidence are directly from (for the sake of argument) God’s workshop and dominion.

    The human differences, endless diversity, and “mystery” as you infer, about sexuality, gender, and orientations cannot be accurately addressed strictly from an ontological optic, much less from a theological optic. They must be examined and addressed from embryology, endocrinology, genetics, neurology, all inside the window of pre-conception to birth and sometime up to the mid- or late teenage years depending on the conditions within the aforementioned four scientific-medical disciplines. Here are THREE excellent empirical starting points to what God(?) has intentionally designed…

    [http://www.isna.org/faq] — How common intersex births are in the world.

    [http://www.pbs.org/show/9-months-made-you/] — What actually goes on pre-conception and during all trimesters; MORE diversity!

    [http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-34290981] — The Extraordinary Reality of Sexual Ambiguity during conception, thru all trimesters as well as up to 12-years old!

    These three introductions are enough for anyone wishing to learn about “God’s Pre-natal Designs” and intentions for humans and completely reframe, if not overhaul, their false ideas about “sin” and/or sexual ambiguity. God’s observable facts, stats, and evidence do not support the impossibly narrow and erroneous biblical or theological debate.

    Best wishes to you E&B.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Professor Taboo I certainly appreciate you reading what I have written and that you have taken the time to share your thoughts, education and observations.

      My faith, my religion if you will, runs on a very simple premise to show love, kindness, compassion and grace to everyone no matter what your beliefs, color, sexual orientation is and are. I am a equal opportunity lover. That is what I believe God ask of me. That is what I believe God ask of everyone. It is pretty simple. I don’t need a PhD or some overly edited manuscript to discern this though I am paying for the tuition of a child to explore it through a PhD program.

      “My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness.”- H.H. the Dalai Lama

      Liked by 1 person

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