Level 3 (meat)

Friday 11 July 2008

These people make a big show of saying the right thing, but their hearts aren’t in it ... so I am going to step in and shock them awake, astonish them, and stand them on their ears.
—Isaiah 29:14, Eugene Peterson translation

I believe there is a deep dilemma and contradiction at the heart of institutional Christianity. Maybe it is even a necessary one. All I know is that it can only be resolved—by authentic inner experience, “prayer,” mysticism, or dare I call it, “spirituality.” I am convinced that religion, in its common cultural and external forms, largely protects the ego, especially the group ego, instead of transforming it. If people do not go beyond first level metaphors, rituals, and comprehension, most religions seem to end up with a God who is often angry, petulant, needy, jealous, and who will love us only if we are “worthy” and belonging to the correct group. We end up with the impossible scenario of a God who is “small,” and often less loving than the best people we know! This supposedly divine love is quite measured and conditional, and yet ironically demands from us a perfect and unconditional love. Such a salvation system will never work, unless we allow an utterly new dimension of love “to astonish us and stand us on our ears,” as Isaiah says above. Unless God is able and allowed to love us unconditionally, we will never know how to do the same.

Richard Rohr, Awakened & Astonished

I started reading Isaiah last night. One of my favourite books along with the Psalms. It feels like relatively safe territory for me to walk. My hope - to read with a few layers of religiosity unpeeled so I can see beyond the surface, get stood on my ears.


  1. *Smiling* Isaiah is one of my favorites, too. I am currently reading it - in the Message. Be thinking of you as I do, now. I have been seeing things with the religious blinders off (or at least mostly dimmed) and all I can say is... wow! Enjoy.

    And... welcome to Apples 2 Apples. Glad you joined us. ;-)

  2. I don't have any of the OT books in Message format except for Psalms. I am going to, though :)

    Hurrah for you having some blinders off or at least dimmed ... doesn't that feel something akin to miraculous? Enjoy, and thanks for the invite to A2A :)


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