The good life is something a man doesn’t count on. Rather, he bets on it. Because if a man counts on it, he—in the most essential place—risks nothing. Obviously. Because he has it all figured out. The answers are all known. It has all been arranged and explained. Everyone agrees on the plan, encouraging the simple math. “2+2=4!” A high school diploma plus a college degree plus a 401k equals the good life. Therefore, the counting-on-it man is, quite simply, an accountant. Living by theory, but no great theoretician. Speaking about hypotheses and art and worth, but no originator of hypotheses, art, or anything worthy. Claiming things he never paid for. He parrots and copies. In the game of life this man places no great bet upon the table. He is merely a technician applying the most rigorous science to his faith while keeping the most rigorous faith in his science. His is an existence lacking in wonder or amazement. Where the only surprises are bad ones. When what he counts on doesn’t happen, he will stand in awe of his calculations, but because they are miscalculations, it will be an awful awe. He will become a tale of all the good that never happened.
To put it another way: Anyone counting on the good life as a reward for his sacrifice, nullifies the sacrifice. In essence, there is no real sacrifice to his sacrifice. In its essence, its aroma is foul. Because from his point of view whatever he sacrificed FOR was already his. “See, it’s already written down in my book,” he says tapping the page. “I risked 2, then I risked 2 more. And 2+2=4!”
But this is the opposite of risk. His sacrifices are always bloodless. His life is not a bet, where everything is on the line and he MAY YET win, but rather a safe and secure transaction on an alter loaded with expectations and assumptions and limp second fruits; where the only thing sure to be in short supply is Abel’s pleasure.
If there is no real risk, there is no real life. In reality, if there is no real risk, there is no reality. Because to really live is to risk it all.
On the day a man is born, he is born neither a blank page nor a completed instruction manual, he is born an adventure. It begins on page one with “Once upon a time…” and is followed by page after living page typed today, written a thousand years ago, chiseled ten thousand years ago, spoken ten thousand years from now, and sung forever. “And will he win? Will he love? Will he fall? We he rise? Is it a good one? Is it a good life?” You may ask.
“Don’t count on it." The man smiles. “Bet on it.”
Being like a Berean is like being in love.
But not in love with knowing, which is being right; but rather the opposite: being in love with not knowing, which is probably being wrong.
It’s like being in love with a person.
Like Solomon’s beautiful personification of Wisdom.
To be in love with a thing or a bit or a fact is to be in love with something dead. But it is better to be in love with something alive.
Better to be in love with life.
"I don’t need a weatherman to tell me which way the wind blows."
I don’t need rules to know how to follow them. If my heart is right, the rules follow me.
The pessimist: “Oh that’s not real!”
The optimist: “I know it’s not, but it’s awesome!”
You objectified Thinking and Actions. You rationalized when rationality was not yours to set before you as a thing of highest value, then prostitute yourselves unto.
Judgment and Reason—the gold and silver that beautifies and adorns you—-is not yours: it is from God.
The modern Christian man’s delight in a 9 year-old child’s “decision for Christ” and the associated “baptism”—and I claim this, not as theology; nor any other kind of “-ology;” I only claim it as a human being—is a feeling less like delight and more like relief. The relief of something finally finished rather than finally begun. The relief of catching a child just before he tumbles out of the golden arms of paradise onto the painful rationality of adulthood, rather than the delight of letting a child go; of watching him fly brightly on his own; plotting his course courageously and with spirit across a jagged landscape. There seems a desperate relief in this strange “decision”—a finality. It reveals something about us, below what we can see. Perhaps, having ourselves forgotten the way back, it is an unconscious, last ditch effort to trap the child in the sinless land before he wanders away. Perhaps, although too frightening to ponder maybe, perhaps we are welcoming him with open arms into the trap in which we ourselves stepped. Or perhaps it is a vain, blind, inverted attempt to scrape the last of his golden light into his pocket; maybe one day to use again to find his way back.
“Enjoy your cake!”
"A warm welcome!"
--In reality, freezing the child before he steps out of the Kingdom of God rather than into it.
All the anxious adults ply the children with axioms written on the ancient door that separates them. Axioms written in runes the adults themselves no longer understand and no longer speak. This door, at which all have gathered yet none understand—the children on one side, the adults on the other— opens upon the broken kingdom of religious rationality, rather than the Kingdom of God. And the parents, the grandparents, the prophets, and the priests lean close, whispering to the children through the door, “Can you hear me? I know you’re in there! I can feel you just about to come out! Do you trust me? You do? Then, just say the words. Did you say the words? You did? Well then, you made it!” And as the children, now “accountable,” step into their dusty and fearful arms, the exit from Paradise clangs shut. And the words “NO WAY BACK” glow briefly in the moonlight before fading into inexplicable symbols once again. With a strange and hopeful relief, the family turns and walks away.
It is a story about you.
It begins with a boy who lost his shadow.
This is a parallelism to Christ’s warning about one evil spirit and the clean house.
The most unruly ruler believes rules get rid of unruliness. But getting rid of unruliness is impossible because ruliness and unruliness are like states of matter. They just are.
Unruliness is dependent on ruliness, just as ruliness can not exist without unruliness.
In the same way, it is wrong to say cleaning gets rid of dirt. Of course it doesn’t. In fact, it is just as easy to say cleaning makes more room for dirt.
Cleanliness does not get rid of dirtiness.
A set of external rules for right behavior does not get rid of wrong behavior. It does not do anything because it is just a concept. And a concept cannot do anything about something as real as evil. Or said another way, morality that has a motive to accomplish something, accomplishes nothing. It can neither create good nor destroy evil—if anything, it does the opposite. Rather, good and evil simply exist, in the same way high and low do—one only exists in relation to the other. The rules the ego learns to follow are not primary education. They are an epiphenomenon of existence. It is why it was essential that the Ten Commandments were inscribed by the hand of God Himself—not man. Just as it was essential that Jesus walk into the wilderness and stand in front of the mirror to face his brother—his dark self—Satan—not because he was told to do it, but because it was foretold by existence itself. At the very beginning, the moment man awoke to self-consciousness in the garden, exactly then, he beheld a core of poisonous fruit in his palm. From the tree that should not have been touched because it made the knowledge of God become the knowledge of man. The moment man ingested desire--wanting--value—he blinded himself to the only cure: to un-desire, un-knowing, un-holding.
The villain never really dies. He always comes back. By not speaking his name Voldemort only comes back with more horcruxes. So something else must be done with evil besides pretending its not there or it multiplies seven-fold. Somehow simply knowing of its close quarters in our heart, saps evil its power.
It is learning to live with dirt—incorporate it—accept it—in your life that makes a home livable.
An Evil spirit does not exist without the good. And good can not be understood without evil. It is in seeing this and incorporating this, that halts the multiplication of evil within.
Do not miss the transition points:
"This is what the Lord said to me:
Go and stand at the all the gates of Jerusalem.
Say to the people, 'Be careful not to carry a load on the Sabbath Day or bring it through the gates of Jerusalem. Do not bring a load out of your houses or do any work on the Sabbath. Keep it holy..."
This is a continuation of a previous thought regarding Christ--he whose life is indescribably described where two lines cross— as the invisible fulcrum on which all things pivot. He IS the Sabbath. He IS the doorway.
Jeremiah is making the connection that the Sabbath is an invisible door.
The Lord warns in Jeremiah: Do not miss the invisible transition points--these Sabbath Doorways. See them. Separate them clearly and with devotion: keep them holy.
This inability to maintain an attentive eye towards the relationship between things—to keep it holy—is a constant mistake committed by those who struggle with God. The unseen relationship between two worlds IS ALSO the doorway between two worlds, two realities, two stages of thought, two paradigms, two levels of consciousness, two lives. These transition points are thresholds. They are not simply a tether between one work week and the next or between outside the city and inside the city; they are an invisible door--a quantum wormhole hidden behind the wardrobe. A rift transporting between what is above and what is below, between heart and mind, intellect and faith, faith and works, emotions and reason, material and spiritual, a part and its whole, and a whole and its parts, and so on… They are a doorway to new and more accurate visions of the many worlds you inhabit. In them and through them you discover which world is greater and which is lesser, which world is outside and which is inside, and which world sits within which. And so God does not take lightly the mistake of ignoring the background in lieu of the foreground, or vice versa, ignoring the foreground for the background. You need to see both. Regularly, rhythmically, cyclically—at the frequency of life, you need to see both. But if you never find the doorway between two worlds, then you are forever trapped in one. So what now? How can you find a door you can’t see? For it is only by seeing the doorway as separate from your current reality—by keeping it holy— that you may truly walk through it.
Jeremiah hints the answer to seeing invisible doors is related to not carrying a load--unburdening, letting go-- as you pass through. You can't bring anything with you. He describes these holy transition points as the Sabbath and the city gates, and commands the people not carry a load on or through them respectively.
He warns! He raises his voice and his fists at the city gates! He warns that your constant resistance—your consistent pushing or pulling in one world—allows these vital thresholds to other worlds to slip past unnoticed. If you push-on through, then you miss the keyhole. If, for example, you never put down your load to crossover from the outer world to the inner, then you will miss the threshold; never even realizing your sandaled foot passed for the briefest of moments through something called an inner world at all. In your constant striding from peak to peak, stepping right over the valleys, you will notice neither the heights at which you walk nor the depths beneath your feet. If everything’s resistance against a load, then the Sabbaths fade away and everyday is Monday. And, then, there really is no change. Jeremiah warns: when you carry a load from outside the city to inside, then no matter which gate you cross, you never really enter it. It is only in unburdening the weight of…of whatever, of “being you,” that you may see between, see how things relate, that you may see clearly the invisible door and walk into the city of God.
John’s not saying, “No more revelation!” Everything is revelation. He is saying the exact opposite. He is saying, “No more reason!
Enough! You’ve got it! The whole story! Quit quibbling! Now live!”
Seeing your eyes limits your vision. Listening to your ears limits your hearing.
Being self-conscious limits your existence.
The gradual development of self-consciousness is almost by definition enculturation. Enculturation is one’s gradual ingestion of the surrounding culture until they become like it. It requires willing participation in the game. A child does not start out self-conscious but becomes so. It is when one begins to know that he knows, thinks, and judges that one forgets how it is he knows, thinks, and judges. He forgets from where his golden gift came. He breaks Samson’s rule and “lays a hand on his head.”
It is when you think you know truth—that you don’t.
It is when you know that you are the judge that you lose the ability.
It is the difference between feeling enslaved by your responsibilities in the world and feeling free to keep the temple and everything in it.
Are you weak? Are you enslaved? Are you pushing the millstone round and round?
Then…you are also blind.