Z-Theory #13: another stab at articulating an idea

I started developing what I call the Z-Theory back on June 22, 2009. And it all started with a dream about a waterfall. I have received some angry responses to it, but I’ve also received some positive ones too. It angers some because it is apparently unorthodox and silly, while to others it has helped them make sense of something they’ve struggled with for so long.

I can speak personally that it has totally changed my life. I have experienced a radical transformation in my own mind and inner being. I cannot really explain it except that my mind has not known this kind of peace and joy before. It is possible, I have come to conclude, to experience this boundless peace and joy, and that we can know what it means to live in Love. The surface of my life is still choppy with turmoil and struggle, but in the depths there is a sublime calm that can only be experienced and hardly explained. I again preface my remarks with the disclaimer that whatever I suggest is falsifiable. I am only proposing based on what I have experienced or discovered.

I still contend that the structure of the z-theory is trinitarian. I suggest that there is an Ultimate Source which we cannot fully know or understand… a Inexhaustible Mystery, the Ground of All Being. This is the source of the falls which we cannot see from below. Some might suggest this is an ultimate super-super implicate order, a super-intelligence, but I would add that it is not neutral, but compassionate and personal. Religions, in their efforts to amass power, would like to claim that their interpretation of this Ultimate Source is the one and only god. But this is only superficial and divides the human race further. I would maintain that, for the most part, our articulations of this Ultimate Source is theoretical and propositional at best. We cannot prove anything. We cannot know for certain. We are guessing. To trust one propositional interpretation against all others is deficient.

Then there is the incarnation of this Ultimate Source or Ground of Being. This is the millions of gallons of water pouring over the edge of the falls towards the earth. This is the evidence that there is a Source which is inexhaustible. It is the appearance, the revelation, the unfolding, the blossoming, the falling out of the Source. It gives us an idea of what the Source is like, but only an idea. It can be viewed from the front, the sides, beneath and behind, and every angle looks different, but it is the one unfolding of the Ultimate Source. I suggest that all incarnations or unfoldings of the Source throughout time is One. It is timeless and universal. All limiting, special and restrictive claims upon this One Unfolding are held suspect. All things and all beings are caught up in this unfolding and are themselves smaller unfoldings within this larger unfolding. It is one movement with many movements within it, like ripples on a larger wave.

Finally, there is the flooding of the plain, our experience of the Ultimate Source manifested through the One Unfolding. We are the unfoldings from the Unfolded. The “spirit” is not a separate entity “out there”. It is actually experienced in love. This is how it is known. As we work together for justice, peace and love, the unfolded extends and spreads throughout the earth. When we recognize that we are all one from the One, this is the “spirit”… not the spirit at work, but the spirit really. I hesitate to speak of “spirit” apart from matter. It is becoming more evident, for instance, that consciousness cannot be separated from brain matter. This watershed, which we are and are in, is the complete and total incarnation, the pouring out of the Ultimate Source into the everyday mundane life of every one of us.

I will continue to try to articulate what I mean. It is difficult for me, a person of average intelligence. If any of this upsets you then simply disregard it. The larger probability is that I have articulated it poorly.

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86 Responses

  1. fishon says:

    David said: But this is only superficial and divides the human race further.
    _____And you Z theory can bring unity and harmon more than Christianity? Wow! What a mind you have.

    All limiting, special and restrictive claims upon this One Unfolding are held suspect.
    _____You can hold Jesus as ‘suspect,’ I won’t.
    fishon

  2. JohnO says:

    I’d say you’ve articulated your thoughts well. The only danger in approaching the topic in such a meta-cognitive way is that one runs the risk of not actually saying anything, by attempting to include everything. A theory resting on vague language and metaphor (not that I’m saying yours is such a theory) can be vacuous. You’re experience rings true.

  3. Tiggy says:

    Yeah, this is much clearer than last time. I can relate to this a lot more – you’ve articulated it in a less abstract way.

  4. Societyvs says:

    “You can hold Jesus as ’suspect,’ I won’t” (fishon)

    Did Jesus ever write anything? I’m just wondering.

  5. timefortruth says:

    How is this different than the Universalist Unitarian view, other than they explicitly reject the Trinity.

    You only implicitly reject the Trinity, in that the usual Orthodox understanding is that the Trinity is three persons, but one God.

  6. JohnO says:

    timefortruth, why don’t you just back up a bit. He’s said nothing regarding the Trinity whatsoever. He sees a tripartite formula backing his approach (previously), where the Father is the top, the Son is the downward movement, and the Spirit on the bottom.

  7. Tiggy says:

    I would imagine most Eastern Orthodox would love David’s description of the Trinity – and they’re the real Trinity fans after all.

  8. preacherlady says:

    This is far deeper than the Unitarian view…at least deeper than it is being taught. This isn’t something that can be learned but only experienced. David, your description is wonderful. I’ve experienced, to some degree, what you are saying, and you articulate it well. How can you describe the peace, contentment, and subtle joy that becomes a solid base to our beings, while the upper levels are in turmoil?…how can we describe that which in the central core of our beings gives the same answer to any plight…BE STILL AND KNOW THAT I AM…

  9. preacherlady says:

    fishon…this isn’t rather than Christianity…it is the result of Christianity, just a page most of us havn’t reached. When Jesus said “…seek first the Kingdom of God…”, that is, make your first priority seeking the kingdom within, he gave us the instruction which leads to this sort of experience. Christian meditation, the goal of which is to bring us to the inner kingdom, will bring us to answers, and the answers quite often come in images such as David’s waterfall. When we go to God contemplatively, asking nothing but to know Him more deeply, we will enter into a different relationship to God and will usually discover that God is different than we imagined, and that we are different than we imagined. Remember that Jesus, in The Sermon On the Mount, was preaching no doctrine…starting no churches…but rather showing the Jews (and the few pagans that wandered in) how to be better Jews. He was showing them how to rise above the mental, soulish level that Judaism was built on and how to enter the realm of pure spirit. Don’t pray for stuff…the Father will take care of that…forgive…pray that your enemies be blessed…make your first priority to seek the kingdom…everything else will fall into place.

  10. Emily says:

    I’m thinking of how his applies to the TV show, Lost.

  11. fishon says:

    preacherlady said, on October 22nd, 2009 at 6:17 pm
    fishon…this isn’t rather than Christianity…it is the result of Christianity, just a page most of us havn’t reached.
    _____No way. I have been on here for a couple years and taken with all that David writes and displays, not hardly. By the way, ask David if he believes Jesus is the only way to the Father? He has refused to answer me that question. Maybe you can have better luck.

    Christian meditation, the goal of which is to bring us to the inner kingdom, will bring us to answers, and the answers quite often come in images such as David’s waterfall. When we go to God contemplatively, asking nothing but to know Him more deeply, we will enter into a different relationship to God and will usually discover that God is different than we imagined, and that we are different than we imagined.
    ____That is just what a Buddist friend of mine says.
    ____But when the contemplative becomes more important than the Word of God, then
    man starts to develope their own lego god.
    ____Oh, but don’t forget, God did preach doctrine, too.
    fishon

  12. nakedpastor says:

    fishon: i do not answer your questions because i’m not sure that they are genuine questions interested in discovering truth. they seem to be attempts to categorize me and confirm yourself in your own beliefs. i won’t ever answer that question under such conditions because it doesn’t help anyone.

  13. JohnO says:

    nakedpastor,

    I wish I had the wisdom to not answer questions like that.

    fishon,

    you are not his elder, bishop, or ecclesiastical leader, you don’t get to define what he can or cannot believe.

  14. Tiggy says:

    when the contemplative becomes more important than the Word of God, then
    man starts to develope their own lego god.

    The Word of God when you put it with capitals like that means the Logos, the creative spirit of God. It does not mean the Bible.

    The contemplative what? You can’t just put contemplative without a noun. If you mean the contemplative person then I think it’s very unlikely any contemplative would consider themselves more important than the Word of God.

  15. preacherlady says:

    fishon…just because a buddhist said something doesn’t mean its not true. Buddhism has a lot of truth in it, as do most paths. Maybe fools rush in where angels fear to tread, but I’ll tackle this.” All who call upon the NAME of the Lord shall be saved.” When Jesus said ” I AM THE WAY” he was speaking as THE CHRIST, the annointed of God, not as Jesus the man. So we are talking about the essence of God, which was fully displayed in Jesus, as that which saves us. If that essence shows up in someone else, which it may since Jesus told us it could, and in fact should, we can be saved through it. Now don’t get into the “only begotten Son” stuff because that’s a theology all to itself, and the Greek word which is translated only begotten…and it is one word…has no viable English translation. People have spent their life’s work on “THE NAME” and on Christology” so salvation through Jesus is correct but not limited to the man Jesus, but to the Christ.

  16. bob says:

    David, I very much enjoyed reading this.

  17. preacherlady says:

    Tiggy…we will find the LOGOS in the bible, but until it becomes RHEMA…the word of God to us, fully embodied and manifest in us and through us, it is only an idea or a philosophy. When people say that the bible is a living thing they are wrong…the words in the bible can become a living thing when we embody and manifest them.

  18. fishon says:

    nakedpastor said, on October 22nd, 2009 at 7:00 pm
    fishon: i do not answer your questions because i’m not sure that they are genuine questions interested in discovering truth.
    ____Oh, so when you answers others questions you have judged that they are ‘genuinely interested in discovering truth!’ Ah-so, now I understand.

    Would that be how you deal with those in your community that you deem not genuine questions interested in discovering truth? Dang, there I go again with one of those disingenuine questions.
    fishon

  19. preacherlady says:

    fishon…contemplation is living the Word of God. First of all, we need something to contemplate…I’m not suggesting we mindlessly contemplate our navels…but if we take a scripture into meditation, after we have contemplated it’s nuances, and ask God to reveal Himself to us through this particular scripture, He will. Entering into sacred silence is necessary for this to happen. As for doctrines, they are needed at the beginning of the path and most of the way through…most people don’t get beyond them…but there are those final laps which we must go alone, where we are taught of the spirit….but those who are taught of the spirit are usually those who have a solid…very solid foundation. It isn’t the airy fairy New Age experience where anything that pops up in your mind is “from the spirit” (yeh, and WHAT spirit) but a continuation of what we were learning on the mental plane but on a level which has no words but only impressions and sometimes pictures. As David attempts to put his impressions into words, realize that you can not define the infinite, but can only put the impressions into metaphor.

  20. Tiggy says:

    Even the Charismatics recognise the importance of contemplation now, but they call it ‘Soaking in the Spirit’ or just ‘Soaking’ for short.

  21. fishon says:

    JohnO said, on October 22nd, 2009 at 7:14 pm
    fishon,
    you are not his elder, bishop, or ecclesiastical leader, you don’t get to define what he can or cannot believe.
    ___Now john that is hilarious.

    nakedpastor,

    I wish I had the wisdom to not answer questions like that.
    ____Dangest thing I think I heard today. Let’s see, a man who claims to be Christian pastor is afraid to answer a perfectly good question on the pretense of: “Oops, can’t answer that one fishy, it isn’t asked with the genuine intent that I require. You see, to answer something as difficult as that, I must determine if you are trying to put me in a box, and yep, fishon, I determine you are trying to put me in a box. So since you really aren’t after the truth—I am going to keep my answer a secret.”

    By the way, john, why not want to answer a question like that?
    fishon

  22. preacherlady says:

    fishon…maybe you don’t realize it but sometimes your questions come across as a challenge rather than an honest desire to exchange ideas and when that happens people are prone to ignore the question rather than to get into a prospective tussle.

  23. fishon says:

    preacherlady said, on October 22nd, 2009 at 7:26 pm
    fishon…just because a buddhist said something doesn’t mean its not true. Buddhism has a lot of truth in it, as do most paths. Maybe fools rush in where angels fear to tread, but I’ll tackle this.” All who call upon the NAME of the Lord shall be saved.” When Jesus said ” I AM THE WAY” he was speaking as THE CHRIST, the annointed of God, not as Jesus the man. So we are talking about the essence of God, which was fully displayed in Jesus, as that which saves us. If that essence shows up in someone else, which it may since Jesus told us it could, and in fact should, we can be saved through it. Now don’t get into the “only begotten Son” stuff because that’s a theology all to itself, and the Greek word which is translated only begotten…and it is one word…has no viable English translation. People have spent their life’s work on “THE NAME” and on Christology” so salvation through Jesus is correct but not limited to the man Jesus, but to the Christ.
    ________WHAT? So has the essence of God been displayed in other humans so as to lead them to salvation throught their God essence? If so, name one.
    fishon

  24. Tiggy says:

    They do rather smack of hostility. Why ARE you here anyway if you have such a low opinion of anything David says/draws?

  25. Tiggy says:

    I’ve seen the essence of God in other humans and it has been salvific for me.

  26. preacherlady says:

    fishon, I didn’t say that the fullness of God had been displayed in anyone other than Jesus…only that it can be. There are some who have…do…will…display some of the qualities of God. Only Jesus paid the karmic debt of the entire human race.

  27. fishon says:

    Alice said: but there are those final laps which we must go alone, where we are taught of the spirit….but those who are taught of the spirit are usually those who have a solid…very solid foundation.
    ____No Alice. Too many have and are running what you call the final laps without doctrine as foundation in their contemplative state, going it alone, and then you get Joseph Smith, Jim Jones, David Koresh, Oprah, rev. Moon, and thousand of more phonies. What you say sounds good on the surface, but going the final laps alone is just exactly what Satan whats. I do believe it was Jesus who said, “It is Written….”
    fishon

  28. fishon says:

    Alice,
    Were you around when David first brought up his new Z-theory? Well he was more than willing to answer many of my questions until I asked that one. And I was not the only one to ask him. I suppose he judged all the other as not genuinely interested in discoverying truth. No, my question was a very legitamate one concerning the theory he proposes.
    fishon

  29. bob says:

    I think I can explain fishon with three words – Church of Christ.
    We have a CoC minister (Johnny Robertson) in our little county in South West Virginia, who has a weekly cable access TV show, and he basically, for 60 minutes, spills his hatred for any and every other denomination in town. He has completely alienated him and his little group of followers from every other Christian in the area, and, as you might guess, there is no reasoning with him.

    fishon is not hard to figure out.

    Hatred wears many uniforms, but is easily recognizable.

  30. preacherlady says:

    fishon…if you reread what I said, I agree with you totally…to go those last laps without a foundation results in the airy fairy anything goes mentality. Paul was taught by the spirit…he had a solid foundation. John was taken up in the spirit…he had walked with Jesus…the bible does say(I’m not sure where and my concordance is in the other room) that the day will come when we are no longer taught by men but by the spirit. ust don’t make that move too soon or you’ll land in the orbit of a not so savory parallel universe.

  31. fishon says:

    Hum, it’s come to this. My questions smack of hostility–they are disingenuous.

    tiggy asked;Why ARE you here anyway if you have such a low opinion of anything David says/draws?
    _______tiggy, since you and others question my motives, no use in giving them.

    Tiggy, why do you read my posts?
    fishon

  32. preacherlady says:

    bob…if fishon were not seeking more, he wouldn’t be a regular on this blog. Why not extend him some grace so he can unfold in different ways. Isn’t that what this is all about? sharing ideas and beliefs outside of the box we’re usually in? WE’re all in a box of some sort…some of them are just bigger than others.

  33. Tiggy says:

    tiggy, since you and others question my motives, no use in giving them.

    Well there wouldn’t be much point in giving them if we weren’t interested!!

    I just wondered why you were on here if you dislike it so much.

    By the way, bit harsh including Oprah in that list!

  34. bob says:

    preacherlady said – “bob…if fishon were not seeking more, he wouldn’t be a regular on this blog.”

    I wish you were correct lady, but all indications are that he is here solely to correct the mistakes made by everyone else…which would be ok if everyone else was wrong, but they are not. Lady, he is just a self righteous bully.

  35. fishon says:

    bob said, on October 22nd, 2009 at 8:16 pm
    I think I can explain fishon with three words – Church of Christ.
    We have a CoC minister (Johnny Robertson) in our little county in South West Virginia, who has a weekly cable access TV show, and he basically, for 60 minutes, spills his hatred for any and every other denomination in town. He has completely alienated him and his little group of followers from every other Christian in the area, and, as you might guess, there is no reasoning with him.
    ________Oops, bobby, wrong. On the first Tuesday of every month, I get together to pray with a Conservative Baptist, Southern Baptist, Presbyterian, and United Methodist pastors. Been doing it for 2 years. Then once a month, we gather our congregations at the different church buildings to pray-[mostly praise] for 2 hours. And wouldn’t you know it, the last time it was at the church I pastor the Catholic priest showed up—- Oh, by the way bobby, there is only one other group in the county, and they choose not to worship with the rest of us. Yep, full of hate I am. I guess it is hate that seens me to the mens breakfast on Saturdays with the Southern Baptist. Yep, I’m not hard to figure out.

    _______bobby, you know not what of you speak.
    fishon

  36. fishon says:

    Tiggy said, on October 22nd, 2009 at 8:32 pm
    I just wondered why you were on here if you dislike it so much.

    ______Did I say I dislike being on here, tiggy?
    fishon

  37. Tiggy says:

    No, and nor did I. I made it clear what I was referring to in the previous post. Why are you on here if you dislike David’s cartoons and writings so much?

  38. fishon says:

    bob said, on October 22nd, 2009 at 8:41 pm
    I wish you were correct lady, but all indications are that he is here solely to correct the mistakes made by everyone else…which would be ok if everyone else was wrong, but they are not. Lady, he is just a self righteous bully.
    _____bob, you already proved you are not a good judge of what, how and who I am. “I think I can explain fishon with three words – Church of Christ.”———-You go on to discribe me as liken to: He has completely alienated him and his little group of followers from every other Christian in the area, and, as you might guess, there is no reasoning with him. ————-Yea, no reasoning with me. My last funeral was done in the UMC with the pastor—–yea———you got me figured, bob.
    fishon

  39. fishon says:

    tiggy,
    Why do you read my words is you dislike them so much?
    fishon

  40. preacherlady says:

    “…let us love one another…” Not my words…can we at least agree to be loving and kind to one another no matter if or how much we disagree? We only know each other from this blog…we don’t know what anyone has gone through or is going through…and since a good many of us are spiritual leaders, shouldn’t we set an example? That doesn’t mean we can’t go into some discussions in the spirit of good debate, and I reserve the right to tell fishon he’s full of beans when I disagree with his theology(but I think he knows the spirit in which it ts said…it’s not an assault on his character, but on his thought process). Lets just lighten up and play nice.

  41. Tiggy says:

    Hey Fishon, I asked YOU first! Anyway, I don’t dislike your words – just disliked that capitalisation thing. Whereas you seem to be consistently hostile to whatever David says. I don’t see you the way Bob does, but is it surprising that people end up wondering if you’re just here to be disagreeable?

  42. fishon says:

    Alice said: I reserve the right to tell fishon he’s full of beans when I disagree with his theology(but I think he knows the spirit in which it ts said…it’s not an assault on his character, but on his thought process).
    _________Full of beans. I resemble that remark.
    _________Alice, those, and really it isn’t many for the amount of time I have been on this blog site, who assault my character and call me a bully, etc. just show their strips and fears of straight talking. And they show their bigotry for oppossing ideas by challenging motives. That is a game many play.

    You know, it is interesting that bob said what he did about me because I am a CofC pastor. It is almost like profileing. He used a CofC pastor he knows of to prove his point. Hum, when Max Lucado wrote most of his books, he was CofC–oh, and non-insturmental at that. No one claimed him to be as bob tried to paint CofC pastors. Bob painting me as he did “I think I can explain fishon with three words – Church of Christ,” doesn’t past the smell test of logic. He runs on emotion only. But that is ok, cause he doesn’t know me——–and to tell others who and how I am because of being a CofC pastor shows off his narrow-mindedness and intolerance. And that I can handle.
    fishon

  43. princess phil says:

    Fishon – this is my first time reading David’s blog, and I very much appreciated his honest attempt to articulate his convictions. I must say that I’m sad to read your responses – as they seem more borne from some vendetta than a desire to uplift, edify and even exhort.

    While I absolutely agree that we should challenge one another as believers, I can certainly understand David’s decision not to wrangle with your aggressive argumentation.

    I would suggest that your interactions would be far more helpful if you could approach people in the true spirit of dialogue, and honestly try to listen and understand before you decide to take on the role of judge and jury.

  44. fishon says:

    Tiggy said, on October 22nd, 2009 at 9:17 pm
    Hey Fishon, I asked YOU first! Anyway, I don’t dislike your words – just disliked that capitalisation thing
    ______Ok, since you asked first.—I liked David the first time I ran into his blog. And early on he shared his hurts and pains, his foibles and doubts. I like that. But as time went by he started to share things that were dangerous to Christians who were having struggles, as new Christians, and I had a few of them contact me because they saw I had a different perspective and unafraid to challenge David, and contrary to what some think, I am easy to talk to and be challenged. I have watched him go from a person who questions to a total complaining pessimist and cynic of the Christian faith. Now, tiggy, if he was not a pastor, I won’t even bother. But he is, and couple that with having some folks get hold of me and ask questions of me about what he is teaching in his church on on here has convinced me to challenge him. It is difficult because he spouts things then when seriously challenged he uses excuses not to answer. You would think I would learn.

    As far as caps, surely you know that they are used, and a legitiate use of emphasis. People the world over use the cap system. Now if I hadn’t acknowledged my use of them I could understand your concern, but I identified what I was doing.
    fishon

  45. nakedpastor says:

    i do not claim to know or assert. i am searching, proposing, suggesting.

  46. ttm says:

    I’m finally beginning to understand what you mean by the Z-theory. It still sounds sort of New Agey to me, but at least I am no longer frustrated by an inability to understand what you mean and why it’s so important to you and maybe to a much greater segment of humanity. Thank you for the further explanation, David.

  47. fishon says:

    princess phil,
    David has continually depicted a huge portion of people in the Church in a most judgmental and ugly light in many of his previous posts. Because you may agree with him does not take away from is nasty characterization of what he considers most of the church and its leaders to be like. You may very well be right, I try to play the judge and jury, but if you can not see, even by the last few cartoons of NPs that he too plays judge and jury, then you are willfully blind.

    David has, in the past, been forthright in his story about his disenchantment with the organized church, and his dripping with sarcasm pieces display that straightforwardly, but let someone like me use words straigthforward, well, we are labelled judge, jury, bitter, intolerant, disingenuious, a bully, etc. I use words to take David on—he uses his art to take the church and people on. At least I am honest enough to say I do. I don’t hide behind the mantle, well I am an artist, so what I do comes along with different rules.

    David is NO different than me. He just hides behind his art and denials: “i do not claim to know or assert. i am searching, proposing, suggesting.” –np

    YOU said:I would suggest that your interactions would be far more helpful if you could approach people in the true spirit of dialogue,
    _____Now you sound like bob, assigning motives to me. There is no one here that I don’t have the true spirit of dialogue at heart. I just don’t say or write my dialogue as they would dictate I do. Now old bobby comes along and calls me a bully. It is impossible to be a bully in this type of venue. And if one was to try and be a bully, well, let me put it this way——–if I thought someone was trying to bully me——I WOULD JUST STOP READING THEIR COMMENTS. That would take care of anyone bullying me.

    princess phil, isn’t it interesting, the one person in this blog site that could have an issue with me because my opinion would hurt so, is Alice, and we disagree quite kindly? Ask yourself, why is that? And I will bet my last dollar, there are many on here who just can’t figure out why she would even talk to someone like me who would believe the way I do. And you would have thought old bob, before he spouted off about me as CofC pastor would have taken a breath and wondered why a CofC pastor would talk to a woman pastor, knowing how CofC believes about that subject. Why a good portion of them would not give her the time of day.

    Enough of my rants.
    fishon

  48. preacherlady says:

    fishon…don’t forget,I’m an old lady and if I havn’t learned to roll with the punches by now I’d better throw in the towel. 30 years ago I was removed from the pulpit by the man who had initially put me there because some male board members decided they didn’t want a woman. It took me a long time to recover. Since then I’ve realized that whatever God has told me to do, I’ll do. Yes, there are those who will say that God couldn’t have told me to do…fill in the blank…because I am a woman…and I just know that those aren’t people I’m called to. Over the years I’ve been condemned to hell by inumerable people…the most dramatic and laughable was by street preachers who come in from Indiana to save Chicago. At one point my ministry included feeding lunches to the homeless and these people condemned me loudly with their bullhorns because I was a woman, ministering, and…horror of horrors…I had pants on. That was a man’s job and I was going to hell because I was doing it. Wonder what they’d say about Elijah and the widow! Jerry, on the other hand, took the time to find out what I’m about. He, like every one else, believes what he believes, and is almost unmovable in his position. We all know that…so why take offense and spend hours discussing his behavior? Just tell him he’s full of it, if thats what you believe, and move on. He knows how to argue. If he really bothers you…ignore him. Yes, I agree that some of the stuff we get into on here could mess up a new believer…well not mess up…let me rephrase that…some of the stuff we get into on here is way over some peoples heads no matter whether they’re new or not. It isn’t a place for someone with shakey faith. I have to say that I was drawn by David’s depiction of the institutional church which wants us to park our brains at the door so they can tell us what to believe, what to think, what to wear, and how much we should be giving in tithes(and yes, I believe in tithing). Church has become too much big business and too little spiritual center. Much of the scandal that has hit the church could have been avoided if people were free to say who they really were and what they were having a problem with. They only get to ask for help when its too late because of the” this is what we believe and this is what we do” policies that no one would dare deviate from.

  49. Kaalvoet-Kind says:

    @ preacherlady: I totally agree with you that we should except one another with love and it is funny to see how offensive people can get when you disagree or challenge their beliefs.

    @ fishon: Some might think that you came on too strong, but isnt this a matter of life or death?

  50. bob says:

    fishon said – “bob, you already proved you are not a good judge of what, how and who I am. ”

    My mistake fishon. I just assumed that you hate everyone you disagree with because of your actions here. All I have to go on is how you act HERE. I don’t see you otherwise.

    I wonder if others view it as odd that you are such a welcoming Christian (as you claim) in your community, but here at nakedpastor, anyone you disagree with is on the biting end of your wrath and sarcasm? I wonder if that makes you a hypocrite? It is very easy to be nice to people when you are face to face with them. I wonder if the anonymity provided here on the forum empowers you to be who you really are, a bully? You are a bully.

  51. bob says:

    “Oops, bobby, wrong.”
    “Oh, by the way bobby…”
    “…bobby, you know not what of you speak.”
    “Now old bobby comes along…”

    I hope people can see what fishon attempts to do here. I go by “bob”. fishon uses the name “bobby” in an attempt to amplify his disdain for me. He is trying to belittle me. He is trying to minimize me. This is adolescent behavior. He uses sarcasm as a weapon, however ineffectively. By calling me “bobby”, he is not trying to make a constructive point. He is simply trying to make me mad.

    Can anyone offer an explanation as to why he would do that? Does anyone else wonder what he hopes to accomplish by his approach?

    I have to ask Christians here:
    Does fishon display the attitude (toward me) that you would like to see in your church pastor?
    Does fishon respond to me as you believe Jesus would respond?…as Jesus would want any Christian to respond?

    Does fishon follow these bible verses :

    Simply let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.
    Matthew 5:37

    Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry…
    James 1:19

    …speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ.
    Ephesians 4:15

    Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus
    Philippians 2:5

    In reading any of fishons responses to me here at nakedpastor, does any Christian see the love of Jesus being displayed by fishon toward me? Or does he display just the opposite?
    Does he respond to me as you would expect to see someone who is not a Christian respond, someone who is not indwelt by the Spirit of Christ?

    My questions are mostly rhetorical.
    I am no longer a Christian, but in my 25 years as a believer, I never came across anyone, minister or otherwise, who claimed to be a Christian, yet unashamedly displayed the attitude that fishon does, towards those he disagrees with, and those who vocally disagree with him. When I was a Christian, I at least tried to present myself as one with the attitude of Christ.

    Simply asked – Is fishon (here at nakedpastor) an example of how a Christian SHOULD behave? Does anyone read his words and think to themselves; “Now fishon is the kind of Christian I would like to be”?

  52. dissidens says:

    Dave, you really consider yourself to be “a person of average intelligence”?

  53. nakedpastor says:

    dissidens: ya, you’re right. i probably overshot that one.

  54. Kaalvoet-Kind says:

    hmmm yes but did Fishon said he was a christian? Someone said the other day that we should look at the ‘steps’ Jesus took on earth, but we should pay particular attention to the ‘stops’ He made…

  55. ttm says:

    bob,

    The “bobby” was not lost on me. I also believe that the subtle (and not so subtle) name changes and nicknames are used in an attempt to belittle, minimize, and appear “bigger than.”

    I have said before that I believe people become bullies because they were bullied and never fully dealt with the pain of their own experience. Therefore, they inflict pain on others–sometimes unknowingly because they are desenstized to pain and bullying and sometimes knowingly because they believe themselves bigger than the people they are trying to control, coerce, or defeat.

    I don’t think the attitude fishon displays toward you is the type of attitude any pastor should have toward anyone–regardless of their religious beliefs or lack thereof. I do not believe Jesus would respond to you in the same way. I do not believe Jesus/God would want Christians to respond to people this way. To be blunt or straightforward or even to rebuke someone you know well and have a relationship is one thing. To always go around rebuking people’s thoughts line by line and consistently attacking the character of people or making negative assumptions constantly just because they believe differently than you do is not loving, kind, or helpful.

    No, I don’t believe that fishon’s behavior matches with the Scriptural commands you listed, but mine doesn’t either. None of us are perfect. Being transformed by the Spirit is a lifelong process. To demand that fishon be perfect, when I am not perfect, would be a hypocritical thing for me to do. But, if over time, I see that fishon and I are not progressing toward these things, I might question why.

    I see fishon displaying arrogance, impatience, rudeness, and sometimes hatred toward you. Not love. Not kindness. Not an attitude of “If it is at all possible, try to live be at peace with all men.” Not an attitude of welcoming arms wide open. As a Christian, fishon’s attitude here embarrasses me. It’s like somebody on my team is making points for the OTHER team. I wish I had the power to put him on the bench. He won’t listen to me. He won’t listen to anyone. It’s embarrassing.

    bob, I hope that fishon’s meanness will not drive you away from this venue. (I doubt that it will, but one never knows for sure.) I really find your comments insightful. Your comments challenge my faith in a “nice” way. 🙂

    I know that your questions were rhetorical, but I really want you to know that I value your comments, presence, and civility here. I hope you don’t mind that I ignored the “rhetorical” part…

  56. fishon says:

    Alice said:I have to say that I was drawn by David’s depiction of the institutional church which wants us to park our brains at the door so they can tell us what to believe, what to think, what to wear, and how much we should be giving in tithes(and yes, I believe in tithing). Church has become too much big business and too little spiritual center. Much of the scandal that has hit the church could have been avoided if people were free to say who they really were and what they were having a problem with. They only get to ask for help when its too late because of the” this is what we believe and this is what we do” policies that no one would dare deviate from.
    _______Alice, I think what and why it is so hard for me to deal with with David and others on this blog is they play the victim of the institutional church. Not that people can’t be victims, but there is a time to get over it, and it seems that some on here have hung on a very long time and they just wallow in it. I have been through the wars just like many on here that have very big, very legitimate complaints. But we are adults, and there is a time to suck it up [even though there is still pain] and move forward.
    ****I hear stories of people having to leave their brains at the door, but I have a hard time relating to it——-Do churches really still people what to wear???—–The tithe, we just have a box in the back [and yes, I believe in the tithe]——Big business, yes, and it is ugly——-But people are ALWAYS free to speak up. The problem is they do NOT want to pay the price for speaking up [like Peter], and that is not the bad guys problem, that is the one who eventually blames the bad guy. Integrity, character, and courage always come with a price–some are willing to pay the price and take the consequences; others will speak out, then complaint that they had to pay the price. And that is what I see out of several on this blog.

    Ah, so much more I want to say, but work needs to be done, and besides….

    Alice, MAKE IT a great day.
    jerry

  57. fishon says:

    Kaalvoet-Kind said, on October 23rd, 2009 at 3:30 am
    @ preacherlady: I totally agree with you that we should except one another with love and it is funny to see how offensive people can get when you disagree or challenge their beliefs.

    @ fishon: Some might think that you came on too strong, but isnt this a matter of life or death?
    _________Ah, yes, a that is why I battle so hard. I know, I know, I can hear some say “You battle the wrong way.” Oh yes, I like a good debate, but that is not my motive. It is like I see David thinking himself right into hell, and it kills me inside. ***And I will not respond to anyone who takes me on for saying that, accept David, cause that is between him and me, not anyone else.
    fishon

  58. fishon says:

    bob said: I wonder if that makes you a hypocrite?
    ____It may well be, bob.
    fishon

  59. bob says:

    ttm, thank you so much for your thoughts and kind words. I appreciate you letting me know that it is not just me. I have at times wondered if I was the only one who could see that the Emperor had no clothes, even though I detect that there are some others here who bite their cheek as they read fishon’s sermonettes.

    No, I value David’s insight to much to leave, but fishon is enough to make me decide to just keep my mouth shut.

    I promise, I will try my best to just let him do as he likes, unchecked by me. I know that I have wasted to much personal time and to much space on Davids blog sparing with fishon.

    Life’s to short.

  60. Laura says:

    Bob, it is not just you.
    Fishon uses this place to belittle just about everyone at some point. Seems like he thinks that if he can make alot of noise and distract everyone from the topic he can somehow keep them from thinking. My only suggestion is to never engage him directly. You’ll just end up getting into a pissing match and he’s alot better at it because he doesn’t seem to have any clue about boundries and good manners on line.

    But, to answer your questions.
    Not only would I not accept a pastor I’m associated with to talk like that to people, I wouldn’t expect any rational, adult human being to do it. I’d like to apologize for the treatment you’ve been getting lately.
    I’m interested in why after 25 years, you decided not to be a beliver any more. How do you define “believer” and what are you doing differently now? I got very close to where you are (I think) about 2 years ago. What’s your story?

  61. Kaalvoet-Kind says:

    On my journey to find answers – and to find God, I learned one thing, above all others. A lot of people, who should be pointing the way, disappoint and reject you if you do not accept their answers without question. That is human nature. It may be because our teachers wonder about the answers themselves?

    This rejection however often feels like rejection from God himself, because are these people – these Christians’ not suppose to reflect the love of God? The unconditional love that the Bible speak off? I also felt that Christians must have all the answers or at least have thought about them, because how can one be expected to love with all your heart and all MIND if you haven’t at least took time to wonder or ponder over God and His ways? Yes often Christians are expected to react in a certain way, and say things that they are suppose to say … or not, but we forget one thing… we are all only human, even with our degrees and extensive theological knowledge!

    The inherent problem with this situation is that we are now scorned by the people who should be teaching us compassion and tolerance in all things..

    We have to understand that our answers can only be found in looking at the nature of God.

    Who are we to judge so easily and effortlessly? Who are we to decide which questions are worth asking?

  62. bob says:

    Laura, I appreciate your input. One thing I want to make clear – I have always felt the need to stand up to those who bully. In school, even though I was not very big, I felt the need to jump in and help the little guy. David does not need my help. But I tend to react when fishon attacks him. And of course, fishon then turns on me, and I attack back, and as we all have observed, nothing gets accomplished.

    One of my main fears was that, as I attempted to reason with fishon, it would degenerate, and I would appear just as belligerent as he. I am sure, on more than an occasion, I failed to maintain my dignity. For that, I want to apologize to all who post here, especially David. As you said before Laura, it just turned into a distraction, preventing us from discussing Davids original thoughts.

    I will take your advice.

    As for what happened to me, the best way to explain it is to offer what I wrote down as it was happening. Probably a 10 minute read, but it should make my journey clear.

    http://i-smell-smoke.blogspot.com/2007_07_22_archive.html

    I welcome your thoughts and would be curious to hear your story.
    r.u.reasonable@gmail.com

  63. Tiggy says:

    I’ve never viewed David as a ‘a total complaining pessimist and cynic of the Christian faith’ – far from it. I see what he’s doing as very positive, especially his waterfall image, and I think he must have a strong optimistic streak or he’d have given up long ago.

    BTW, wouldn’t ‘Waterfall Theory’ be a better name than ‘Z theory’. That sounds so dry. (Pun intended – lol)

    Oh and bullying is very frequent on places like this – it’s a real problem. I’ve seen it plenty of times.

  64. bob says:

    Laura, the reason I use “believer” sometimes is because there has been times when, in discussions with Christians, they determined that I couldn’t have ever been a “true” Christian, since I am no longer a Christian. So, I just started using the term “believer” rather than give them the opportunity to tell me that, for 25 years, 1/2 of my life, I was not what I thought I was.
    With regard to Christianity, I use “Christian” and “believer” interchangeably. So, in my mind, with regard to Christianity, a Christian is a believer and a believer is a Christian…I think.

  65. bob says:

    NP said – “I can speak personally that it has totally changed my life. I have experienced a radical transformation in my own mind and inner being. I cannot really explain it except that my mind has not known this kind of peace and joy before.”

    David, if you get a chance (and feel the freedom to), could you elaborate some? For me, happiness is the ultimate goal in life. If a person is happy (content, calm, at peace, settled) I want what they have. I have moments of happiness, but that is soon drowned out by all the cares, the distractions, all the life that lies behind me and lies in front of me.

    I would appreciate, if / when you are ready, if you could share some…details?

  66. princess phil says:

    Tiggy said: “I’ve never viewed David as a ‘a total complaining pessimist and cynic of the Christian faith’ – far from it. I see what he’s doing as very positive, especially his waterfall image, and I think he must have a strong optimistic streak or he’d have given up long ago.”

    I couldn’t agree more, Tiggy. Like the Psalms of another David, this kind of searching, questioning, and longing speaks much more to me of genuine faith than absolute and militant certainty (aka arrogance?).

  67. nakedpastor says:

    hey bob: i will elaborate as i continue to unfold my experience and try to articulate this thing. stay tuned.

  68. Tiggy says:

    There’s an image of a waterfall in C. S. Lewis’s book ‘The Great Divorce’. (at least I’m think it’s in that one). It’s where a bus load of people go to Heaven. There’s a very spiritually-moving (if that’s a phrase?) part about a waterfall.

    At my church we have a video image of a waterfall when we have what they call ‘Soaking’ sessions – at first I thought it was called that because of the waterfall video – lol. My church is an old 1930s cinema so it’s a really big image on the big screen. It’s very peaceful, but makes you want to go to the loo after a bit. It was accompanied by live violin and cello music last time and it was really beautiful.

  69. bob says:

    Tiggy, you seem to really like waterfalls. Here are some I have photographed the past few years.

    http://www.pbase.com/rsweatt/image/53233812
    http://www.pbase.com/rsweatt/image/7439866
    http://www.pbase.com/rsweatt/image/76257811

  70. Tiggy says:

    Thanks Bob, you’re a really good photographer! I’ll take a look at some more of your nature pics tomorrow. I live near some falls in the centre of my city. I think it’s called a weir. I’ve been to Niagara and being British insisted on paddling at the top – it was surprisingly calm at the sides. Got totally soaked on the boat and insisted on crossing back to the Canadian side for some French onion soup.

    Being an intuitive, the waterfall image has a lot more appeal to me than the Z which seemed kind of random anyway.

  71. preacherlady says:

    fishon…oh, are there still churches that tell you what to wear! As liberal as the garden variety evangelicals have become, the fundamentalist churches are still out in full force. Men in coat and ties…women in skirts, the longer the better…no makeup or jewelry…and some require a headcover. The ethnic churches are more radical and many of them still have the men on one side and the women on the other. There are still churches that teach total obedience to the pastor. Don’t forget, Chicago is a melting pot…we have people from the south who are still into snake handling, and we have 1000’s of immigrants who bring their customs with them. As to people ” getting over it” we can’t decide for them when they should be over it…it will happen when it happens. I think David has found a marvelous outlet with his cartoons and he’s been coregeous enough to share them with us. He’s at a rough(but wonderful) spot in his life and we need to let him go through it at his own pace. When someone is going through a spiritual discovery that is not usually shared, it quite often looks as if they are going into apostacy when they really aren’t…they’ve just begun to enter that space that mere words cannot define.
    bob…I read your journal…I like where you are…it can be found in/through scripture if you know where to look. I’ll e-mail you in the next few days and maybe we can discuss it.

  72. Tiggy says:

    We don’t have any of that stuff in the UK, except there are one or two very underground African churches in London that do weird things. People wear whatever to go to church. I’m not a monarchist, but I feel grateful for the Restoration. 🙂

  73. It sounds like you are speaking of the Tao.

  74. preacherlady says:

    There are web sites that sell “church lady” clothes and my brother tells me…he’s a deacon in a Church Of God In Christ, white Irish face and all…that there are people who come in vans to sell hats outside church…the kind of hats that only ladies in black churches wear. There are shops that cater to the men’s clothes for black churches. The same goes for the Hispanic churches. You wouldn’t dare go to any of them in pants…one of the old mothers of the church would let you know in no uncertain terms that it wasn’t acceptable.

  75. fishon says:

    preacherlady said, on October 24th, 2009 at 12:11 am
    fishon…oh, are there still churches that tell you what to wear! As liberal as the garden variety evangelicals have become, the fundamentalist churches are still out in full force. Men in coat and ties…women in skirts, the longer the better…no makeup or jewelry…and some require a headcover. The ethnic churches are more radical and many of them still have the men on one side and the women on the other. There are still churches that teach total obedience to the pastor.
    _____I guess I am way too isolated to have ever been around those kind of churches. I live in town of 385, and we are the biggest town in the county. Contrary to bob’s bigoted characterization of CofC preachers, I can’t hardly fathom churches like that. However, I read about them, so must be so.

    However, many of those folks are probably very happy in their circumstances. And who are we to try and get them to change. Haven’t Christian missionaries made the mistake of trying to Americianize the people they bring to Christ in many other countries–and we know the disaster that can lead to.

    As far as total obedience to a pastor–I have never witnessed it—-but again, I hear of it, so it must be so. I grew up in a rough old time logging town, and independence was worn like a metal of honor. And I live in a very rural wheat community that prides itself on independence. Total obedience to anyone—never happen–not even to a pastor.

    As far as how you view David, we will just have to disagree on that one. I believe he has already made his decision about where he stands on the Bible and Jesus–But then, really, only he and God know.

    later Alice,
    jerry

  76. arulba says:

    People get angry at this? Guess I’ve been out of the Christian realm for a while. I’m about to enter back in and need to reorient myself with those who fear to tread on Christian dogma. 🙂

    Your theory makes me think of Dostoevsky’s definition of God as a “field of infinite potentiality” (or something like that). I’m not that familiar with your theory, but it seems to me it holds true to the mystical experience and I appreciate your willingness to articulate it.

    JohnO said something about the danger of not saying anything by attempting to say everything. The Buddhists say that nothingness is nothing because it is everything. So perhaps there is no danger?

    timefortruth said that the Z-theory represents the Unitarian Universalist vision of non-trinitarianism. A qualification – the Unitarians rejected the trinity. Not the Univeralists. And now the two have jointed together. It’s possible to collapse the trinity into a unity while maintaining a trinity. I grew up orthodox Methodist but was always taught that was the basic point – in one there are three. And in three there are one. The one is Divinity. The three are creator/spirit/material realm. (Or something loosely like that).

    Love your blog Naked Pastor. I’ve listed you as one of my heroes!

  77. nakedpastor says:

    thanks arulba. nice to hear from you again.

  78. David, you know there are issues with this that I disagree with yet I appreciate the openness you have demonstrated in sharing this. I will attempt to use the same imagery (along with a few additions) for this discussion below to illustrate my perspective.

    The universalist perspective that is portrayed here fails to take into account that some water is stagnant on the plain and some is unhealthy and brings death. There is a source. There is an incarnation. There is a moving of the Spirit. Now some would look at the incarnation and try to separate it from the source by saying Jesus Christ was not part of the Source. Some water does come down the waterfall and enter the plain, the water moves on from there. Along this plain there is more than just one source and not all of them are equally life giving. Springs from the deep also come up full of brimstone and sulfur and bring death to any who drink from them. Not all “spirit” is considered equal. Only one Source brings life. Only One Incarnation reaches the plain below. The moving of the Spirit brings life and they all must testify to both the Incarnation and the Source. This is the test. If the water on the plain does not testify to the Incarnation, it does not come from the Source. Let us not waste our time splashing in the murky water on the plain hoping for life to spring out of death. Instead let us be refreshed in that which we know, that which we have seen that testifies to not just life, but to the mystery beyond the cliff that comes of it’s own willful volition into the Incarnation of Christ and the Spirit.

  79. arulba says:

    William – I’m not sure I follow your use of the imagery.

    Water is water and ultimately comes from the same source – it is recycled over and over again. The Source is not the cycle, it is what allows for the cycle. The Source of the water in the waterfall is therefore the same Source of water everywhere, stagnant or flowing. Stagnant water will eventually soak into the earth, become cleansed of its impurities, and find its way back elsewhere – perhaps in the waterfall or perhaps in another stagnant pond somewhere.

    It is never the water itself that is unhealthy. “Unhealth” is based upon a particular point of view. Bacteria and other life forms are allowed to multiply and proliferate in stagnant and may indeed be unhealthy to humans and animals. But for the bacteria, the stagnant water is very healthy. It remains a source of life despite the human/animal perspective that it brings death.

    Fear of death may lead to the conclusion that death is unhealthy. But again, this is based on a specific point of view. In the natural world, life always springs from death. Again, it is the Source that gives rise to this cycle. Death is lifegiving. We don’t have to hope life will spring out of death. It just does. That’s the point of the resurrection, is it not?

    True, there is only one Source of life. But really, what else is there besides life once we cease to view death as the opposite of life but rather an integral part of it? There is nothing to test for. Everything testifies to the incarnation.

    Any attempt to label the Source or try and claim the “rightness” of a particular point of view of this source is just plain hubris. The only possible response is humility, gratitude and reverence. Labels, ideologies, theologies, and even z-theories will all necessarily fall far short of the truth because they are nothing more than a point of view. They point to “the Source”. But they are not “the Source”.

    We cannot be refreshed in what we “know”, because the truth is – we don’t know!! We perceive from a very limited view.

  80. arulba: I am confused by your statement “Death is lifegiving” – Death was never a part of the plan. Rather it is the absence of life. This was the whole consequence of the sin in the garden.

    Understanding God as personal and not just a “Source” is essential. So many want to take God and make Him impersonal. A personal God has values, a definitive right and wrong, and sets a standard for what is right and wrong. But then again, nobody wants to be wrong anymore. It’s all a matter of perspective rather than actually being wrong. Granted, maybe I am misreading David’s dream and both of his posts. I probably am in some regard and I know I’ve added more to the original imagery.

    Your last statement is what scares me the most though:

    We cannot be refreshed in what we “know”, because the truth is – we don’t know!! We perceive from a very limited view.

    How can you say to your child one day to be obedient and not walk out in the middle of the street? The small child doesn’t know that walking out there may bring death. All the child knows is your word and that you love him enough to tell him not to walk out there. The child has a limited viewpoint too. He also doesn’t know death. Is death lifegiving? Death is not merely the absence of life, it is the disconnection from God (the Source).

    This Source is not just a source. It is The Source. It even revealed it’s name as “I Am” and even referred to himself as “The God of Abraham, Issac and Jacob” Revelation doesn’t just happen through the Spirit, though the Spirit bears witness. It happens on all levels. God revealed Himself (and revealed Himself as the Source). Jesus revealed Himself as the Christ. The Holy Spirit continues to reveal Himself to us and testify to both God and Christ.

    You are right to say that the water is not itself unhealthy. Rather it is the contaminates. Yes, this God is a Source for which we can also have life, but also other harmful lifeforms can and do make their home in it bringing death to all who drink of it. But to drink from stagnation when life abounds? That is intolerable as teaching children that the best place to play is in the middle of an interstate highway. A spiritual “Russian roulette” so to speak. If I embrace mortal death, it is not because it is life giving. I embrace it because there is a life abundant that can be mine inherent in the Source (that is God) and it is to this that I cling rather than a single mortal life, a mere second of inconsequence in the swell of eternity.

  81. preacherlady says:

    fishon/Jerry…385 people? there are that many on my block and the ones on either side of it! Ministry in our respective places is totally different. We each face different foes. Within 4 blocks of where I live there is an American Pentacostal church…a Korean Presbyterian church, a Romanian church, a Hatian church, a Hindu congregation, Santeria, and a mosque…and thats in less than half a mile. Oh thats only in one direction. In the other directions there are The Mormons, an Eastern Orthodox church, A Methodist church with American, Hispanic, and Korean congregations. In the neighborhood there are also The Israelites, The Local Church, The Circle of Friends,…Scientology is only a couple of miles away, as are 2or3 Buddhist Temples. Santeria abounds, as does Yruba. Helping people sort out whats what is a job in itself. The gospel is the gospel, but how its taught is crucial. But I’m sure that in your environment there are different dangers that are just as serious.

  82. arulba says:

    William – you’re right. It’s a little off to say death is life giving. I guess a better way to put it is in this way: “Life is” while “Death is not.” But I disagree that death wasn’t part of “the plan”. Everything is constantly in process and death is an integral part of life. Life is constantly going in and out of being – but life always “Is”. It is the “Source” that gives rise to the process so the “Source” itself both Is and Is Not. It isn’t either/or. It is both and neither.

    If we name “the Source” God, then God is both personal and impersonal. Is and Is Not. The Alpha and the Omega (first and last/beginning and end).

    But values are always based upon cultural experience and will vary from culture to culture. So to say that a personal God has values (which is usually understood in terms of Greek rationalism and abstract thought) is really the same thing as saying that God is created in man’s image.

    I “know” about the material realm. I “know” what I can understand empirically and therefore I “know” that it is very dangerous for my child to wander out into the middle of a street. And yes, my view is broader in that sense. Obedience is not particularly effective. If I can make my child understand the danger, he will stay out of the road on his own. Likewise, relying on a punitive personal God to keep us out of the road (so to speak) only goes so far and doesn’t particularly serve humanity anymore. As a culture, we agree upon certain values and this is absolutely necessary. But we are much more likely to carry out these values if we understand their intrinsic value rather than simply assigning them to an abstract God. (Extrensically imposed values are always abstract and therefore belong to an abstract God, even if we call such a God personal to try and enforce them.)

    We can’t be disconnected from our “Source” and the ground of our being. It’s impossible. We only think we are disconnected. The disconnect feels like death, but it isn’t death. It’s simply a misperception. Or, in terms of Greek archery – a sin (we thought we aimed for God but missed the mark). All we need do is adjust our perception – put things into an appropriate perspective. Quit trying to be like God by creating him in our image and according to our value systems and take our rightful place as a humble, reverent creation of God.

    Our ideas about God aren’t God – they are ideas. If we worship our ideas, then we are merely engaged in idol worship. It’s very convenient to thump a sacred text and claim it is the right ideology and all others are wrong. But to do so is an attempt to create God in the image of a sacred text which turns the text into a stagnant idol to be worshiped rather than a living expression of God.

    I apologize for writing so much, William. I realize I won’t change your mind with any of this and I don’t feel the need to do so. But it helps me to work through my own thoughts so thank you for the opportunity to do so. I wish I could articulate them better.

  83. William Taylor says:

    Hey there, i guess when you lay your heart out in public domain this is a price to pay. Where i may not agree with all you say (I don’t know yet as i am still getting my head around it, so i’ll get back you you on that one!) Please keep seeking in your own way. One thing i know is that we all have to seek in our own way. We are not carbon copies of each other. I thank God for that! Keep on your journey, keep seeking, keep experiencing. Be blessed.

  84. Gabriel says:

    Articulating the Z theory in this way makes a whole lot more sense to me. Good to know you understenad “the source” as a person. With that I can work

  85. John Fariss says:

    fishon,

    I haven’t read all the comments yet, but I will say this. Don’t get all bent out of shape about NP not answering your questions. Actually, I think NP has learned something it took me a long tiome to learn: you don’t have to go to every knife fight you are invited to.

    Now maybe you weren’t really inviting him to one, I don’t know. Maybe if you were, it was only to be a demonstration of knife fighting. Maybe it was to stop with the first blood drawn. Maybe it was only to be a fight until one of you conceded. Maybe it wasn’t to be all the way to death. No mater: it amounts to the same thing: NP isn’t obligated to answer every question every one of us poses to him. Neither are you or I.

    John

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