April 11, 2021

01

Botany Bay 01 Oil Paint Rendered — Botany Bay Plantation Wildlife Management Area, Edisto, Island, South Carolina
What does orthodoxy fear from heresy?

Orthodoxy's insane response to heresy--
excommunication,
denunciation,
torture,
execution via burning at the stake
and attacks in the Colosseum
by lions and wild dogs,
hanging
and drowning--
exposes fault lines destabilizing
the foundations of orthodoxy.

What does truth have to fear
from the exploration of truth?

Orthodoxy on all levels 
is the most unstable platform imaginable
for viewing life and knowing truth.

"See it like you are told it is"
is a ridiculous imposition of blinders
upon all who are "saved" by orthodoxy.

Let orthodoxy answer all of the questions raised
by the assertions of orthodoxy!
And all of the questions its answers raise!

How long into that process before we reach 
the place of having to "take everything on faith"
because orthodoxy says so?
"Take everything on faith in orthodoxy!"

Orthodoxy is grounded on the assumption
of God being who orthodoxy says God is
"because the Bible says..."
And who says the Bible is the final word
in "faith and practice"?
Why, orthodoxy, of course.

Orthodox is a nice, tight, little circle
of "It is so because we say it is so,
and if you don't say it is so, also,
you are a heretic and must be executed now
because we say so."

Orthodoxy has to go, 
along with its theology,
and we start over again
from the beginning.

"In the beginning the earth was without form
and void."
Let's start there,
with nothing,
and see where it goes.

It won't be long before we get into
a tussle over whose view of the way things are
is the right view.
Whose idea of truth is the true truth?

And there will be a big fight,
lasting for eons,
and executions,
and orthodoxy will be born.
Again.

Disagreement about the way things are
is at the heart of the way things are.

The American experiment with democracy
has proven that Majority Rule
is no way of securing agreement
about how things are and what matters most.

There is no way.

The best we can do is to have
really large,
unending,
ongoing
conversations about the way things are
and what matters most--
with no one being excommunicated
or executed because of their views.

Truth Shapes Truth.

This is the scientific method
applied to society, culture and politics.

Ask all of the questions that beg to be asked,
and all of the questions their answers
beg to be asked.
Always and forever.

And grant everyone the right
to their own religion throughout time.

And no one kills anyone ever.

Now, how are we all going to decide
to do it this way?

Life is such a hoot,
all the way down!

–0–

02

On Roan Mountain 02 06/13/2012 Oil Paint Rendered — Roan Mountain National Forest, Carver’s Gap, North Carolina
We cannot help how we see things.
The way we see things
is influenced by 10,000 things,
put together in ways 
that are unique to us individually.

"Individual" means seeing things 
as we see things
and not as somebody else--
much less everybody else--
sees things.

The first principle is to see things
the way we see things.
The second principle is to see our seeing.
The third principle is to see how our seeing
impacts, shapes, forms what we look at,
so that we generally see what we expect to see
and not necessarily what is there.

We cannot hope to see until
we see how our seeing creates
and sustains/maintains what we see.

Our parents,
our point of origin,
our environment,
our culture
create an umwelt for seeing
that determines--
or strongly influences--
what we see throughout our life,
by molding how we see from the start.

We look through the lens 
of our experience/expectations
when we look at anything/everything.
And we cannot help how we see things.
But, we can see our seeing,
and look closer,
particularly at our biases,
assumptions,
presumptions,
inferences,
conjectures
and 
conclusions.

The field of General Semantics
is well worth exploring here.
The related field of Reality Therapy
is also a good source 
for thinking about our thinking
and examining what is going on
with our experience of reality.

We cannot help how we see things
and we all have deep convictions
about how things are.
This is a problem that creates problems.

We believe that how we see things
is the way things are--
and it is how everyone ought to see things.
And those who don't agree with us 
are The Enemy
who must be converted or ostracized,
excommunicated, shunned  or shot.

It's a problem of world-wide proportions.

We begin the process of resolving the problem
by stepping back.
And standing aside.

Stepping back and standing aside
takes the impetus to be right
and destroy all opposition
out of the picture.
We are no longer motivated 
by the desire to conquer, 
subdue and vanquish
all that stands between us
and the realization
of our will to prevail.

Stepping back and standing aside
opens the way for The Way.
The Way is the way of conversation,
of communion,
of I/Thou,
of "Thou Art That."

We are one with The Way of Oneness
with all things
and enemies of no thing.

The Way of Oneness
is the way of looking and listening
until we see and hear,
know and understand.
This requires waiting
for the mud to settle
and the water to clear.
Within and without--
within ourselves and 
between/among all of us.

We do not talk to argue,
debate, harangue and prevail.
We talk to listen, hear,
comprehend and understand. 

By doing the work of articulating
what we have to say
and grasping what is being said--
by ourselves and by those speaking to us--
a shift happens,
a light dawns,
realization descends
and transformation occurs. 

Not because anyone made anything happen,
but because all participated equally,
with sincerity and good faith,
in the happening.

This is the way of peace 
and compassion,
loving-kindness,
balance and harmony,
and life everlasting.

World without end. Amen. 

Published by jimwdollar

I'm retired, and still finding my way--but now, I don't have to pretend that I know what I'm doing. I retired after 40.5 years as a minister in the Presbyterian Church USA, serving churches in Louisiana, Mississippi and North Carolina. I graduated from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, in Austin, Texas, and Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana. My wife, Judy, and I have three daughters and five granddaughters within about twenty minutes from where we live--and are enjoying our retirement as much as we have ever enjoyed anything.

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