Esoteric Christianity so called

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Thomas

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Anyone who observes a concrete distinction between esoteric and exoteric in Christianity has failed to comprehend the meaning of the revelatum as such. Anyone who has the least sense of the significance of the rending of the veil of the temple would understand this.

The French theologian Jean Borella states:
"The divine revelatum is not esoteric or exoteric in itself ... Esoterism is a human artifact ... the revelatum is ontologically one, esoterism and exoterism being only hermeneutic perspectives not objects or things."
(Guénonian Esoterism and Christian Mystery" Jean Borella)

As he says:
"Man is not a simple recorder of facts, he understand and interprets them as signs with a certain existential meaning."

The 'Christian esoterist' then is one who regards the Word not just as a sign but a symbol, and whose vocation is the making of that symbolic meaning apparent to others.

However, for the Christian, to be Christian, is to accept the Word is the Word as a fact, a truth, and a reality. Any subsequent determination is just that, secondary and ancilliary.

John 1:12
"But as many as received him, he gave them power to be made the sons of God, to them that believe in his name."
Immediately the pseudo-gnostic will say, "Ahh! But how does one receive him?" and from here commence the placing of so many obstructions and barriers between God and man as to render that reception impossible.

+++

The Sufi Master Martin Lings, writing about René Guénon, perhaps one of the greatest figures in the world of metaphysics of the last century, said this:

"His (Guénon's) message was always one of strict orthodoxy in one esoterism, but at the same time of equal recognition of all other orthodoxies"
(Sophia Journal)

This is true eccumenism, true interfaith.

Thomas
 
Anyone who observes a concrete distinction between esoteric and exoteric in Christianity has failed to comprehend the meaning of the revelatum as such. Anyone who has the least sense of the significance of the rending of the veil of the temple would understand this.

The French theologian Jean Borella states:
"The divine revelatum is not esoteric or exoteric in itself ... Esoterism is a human artifact ... the revelatum is ontologically one, esoterism and exoterism being only hermeneutic perspectives not objects or things."
(Guénonian Esoterism and Christian Mystery" Jean Borella)

As he says:
"Man is not a simple recorder of facts, he understand and interprets them as signs with a certain existential meaning."

The 'Christian esoterist' then is one who regards the Word not just as a sign but a symbol, and whose vocation is the making of that symbolic meaning apparent to others.

seattlegal-albums-emoticons-picture96-bowdown.gif
Well said!
 
As he says:
"Man is not a simple recorder of facts, he understand and interprets them as signs with a certain existential meaning."

The 'Christian esoterist' then is one who regards the Word not just as a sign but a symbol, and whose vocation is the making of that symbolic meaning apparent to others.

However, for the Christian, to be Christian, is to accept the Word is the Word as a fact, a truth, and a reality. Any subsequent determination is just that, secondary and ancilliary.
"Accept the Word is the Word as fact, a truth, and a reality."

So a day is a day? World was built in seven days and Adam out of mud? I believe we both believe that is allegory, not a fact, a truth and a reality (well as we know these definitions).

Or are you not speaking of the Word as in scripture, but the words of scripture?
Mark 3:17And James the son of Zebedee, and John the brother of James; and he surnamed them Boanerges, which is, The sons of thunder:

Acts 13:8But Elymas the sorcerer (for so is his name by interpretation) withstood them, seeking to turn away the deputy from the faith.

Hebrews 7: 2To whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all; first being by interpretation King of righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is, King of peace;

The writers of the bible made it a point to provide their existential meanings in the naming of mountains, valleys, tribes, people, and even wells. Every name had a surface meaning and another interpretation a metaphysical undertone.

It seemed important to them to include this surely you are not saying we discount that now?
 
"Accept the Word is the Word as fact, a truth, and a reality."
I meant the Word of God. Jesus Christ.

So a day is a day? World was built in seven days and Adam out of mud? I believe we both believe that is allegory, not a fact, a truth and a reality (well as we know these definitions).
Agreed ... although elements addressed by the allegory are fact in the sense real and true ...

The writers of the bible made it a point to provide their existential meanings in the naming of mountains, valleys, tribes, people, and even wells. Every name had a surface meaning and another interpretation a metaphysical undertone ... It seemed important to them to include this surely you are not saying we discount that now?
Who me? No way! The more attention you pay to the text, the more it reveals...

Thomas
 
Even though it would be realistically impossible to discuss esoteric Christianity in this format of battling experts, it is revealing to know why.

Esoteric means inner as compared to exoteric which means outer. Esoteric Christianity conderns the inner man which we don't experience because our lives are lived by the outer man which is our personaities unconcerned with the inner man. It sometimes happens that a person has been living a good life but begins to wonder what actually he is doing and if this is the objective rather than societal purpose of his existence.

Up until this point a person has been told WHAT to do and right and wrong is based upon these dictates. However when a person begins to feel that there is something more to it, the secular exoteric traditions are at a loss. Answers such as "to please God" are superficial because we know that no god worthy of the name could be concerned with being pleased.

A person becomes more concerned with this question of "purpose" and the exoteric church is no help. The question becomes if there is an inner tradition at the source of all this exoteric fragmentation that helps a person begin to feel and intellectually understand human meaning and purpose with the whole of themselves? I believe there is. Of course this draws the growls of the exoteric church that speaks of "faith" without understanding. A person then has to become free of this form of control and begin to make the efforts to "understand." They have to become the "black sheep."

Esoteric Christianity is about re-birth which begins with this difficult concept of metanoia.

Esoteric Christianity, Dwight Ott - alternative Christianity

Esoteric Christianity is not exclusive of truth in other cultures and religions. The Truth, (Christ) exists universally within all things. The Life, (Christ) conquers death and dispels the darkness of ignorance, partiality, vanity, and pride. The Way, (Christ) is transformation from a low state of being to what one is in truth.

Largely ignored by church teaching is the sevenfold nature of all things, spoken of many times in scripture, from the seven days of creation to the seven seals of Revelation. This is the law of transformation, - of creation.

7. understanding (comprehension)
6. knowledge (science and conscience) {-- KINGDOM
5. receptivity (directed attention)

4. intellect (conditioned thought / metanoia) { -- CHANGE

3. emotion (automatic feeling)
2. senses (physical senses) { -- ORDINARY HUMANITY
1. superstition (imagination) The Bible, or anything else, can be approached through any of the seven levels. It is only with metanoia, - a change from automatic, conditioned thinking, to conscious thought, that an entrance into the higher levels (the Kingdom of Heaven) can be made. John the Baptist was at the pivotal point, but had not entered. Jesus said John was the greatest of once-born men, but that the least in the kingdom was greater. So this state has levels. Levels 1, 2, and 3 are those of ordinary humans. Level 4 is the dividing line between unconscious, conditioned thinking and the birth of a new process of thought that is conscious. Levels 5, 6, and 7 are the levels of the kingdom, -- the highest potential of humanity where there is peace, order, and unity. Lower humanity falsely believes it has the higher qualities of real experience, real knowledge, and real understanding, thus it sees no need for effort to change.
The Gospels teach, above all, that the purpose for human life is to enter this higher state, rather than to try to reform the world. Jesus did not concern himself with worldly government or institutions, other than to recognize them for what they are, (Render unto Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's). Neither did he try to reform the religion of his time. He fulfilled it by showing what it was supposed to be. The kingdom is not of the world (levels 1, 2, and 3), but of a higher reality. The baptism of Christ is one of fire (spirit). The entire message of Christ through Jesus was about this higher potential that he called the kingdom of heaven.
Today, as in the time of Jesus, few people can accept this teaching, preferring to follow the broad highway of group membership and religious social identity. The inner teaching was not, and is not, a religion for the masses. It does not teach faith in the human world and its institutions, but in the transcendence of it for the few. It requires an internal severance from the "traditions of men", while living in the world, but not belonging to it (believing in its values). Esoteric Christianity can never become an organized, institutional church. It can exist for individuals within institutional religion, churches, but they must be able to see beyond the surface structure to the inner, higher meaning. The real Teaching is about individual, personal change to a higher state of being.

A person can begin to feel a calling through either of the first three categories but it is the fourth, metnaoia, where it can begin to be understood with the whole of oneself and a person begins to experience that they are more than just a cog in society.

Where the exoteric traditions are in the world, the esoteric traditions know that the source of meaning is outside the world. Even though an esoteric Christian can be part of an exoteric church and its community of nice people, they draw deeper meaning from groups of other "black sheep."

This is why theology isn't argued. Esoteric Christianity is experiential and all these arguments can easily create negative associations which is poison to this tradition that seeks to develop the capacity for impartiality. The black sheep seeks to verify for themselves. They seek to exchange blind faith IN something for becoming able to acquire the human quality of faith itself. Normally we don't know what faith without being IN something actually is.

Esoteric Christianity provides a skeleton of a living whole that describes the nature of existence. We are invited to verify it through the efforts to "know thyself" or reject it. The idea isn't to decide between conflicting experts but become able to experience human meaning and purpose and develop in our being so as to begin to actualize it in ourselves.

Esoteric Christianity then isn't a matter of exoteric theology but rather an inner experience that requires a practice. It requires a respectful atmosphere much like within a sangha in Buddhism.

Though complete transformation is only for a very rare few, when a person begins to awaken to the human condition their inner man becomes good seed and worthy of salvation within the body of Christ. the church at one time had the potential to serve as connecting the exoteric with the esoteric but it got lost in the shuffle in favor of power within societal concerns.

Enjoy participating in battling experts but Esoteric Christianity could not be a part of it since it doesn't seek to battle but rather to verify.
 
Theosis is the term used to designate the reception and actualisation of the grace of filial adoption, as found in St John's Gospel (John 1:12) and elsewhere.

This grace is conferred at Baptism, a sacrament that "communicates the divine gnosis" (Basil of Caesarea De Spiritu Sancto, 32), and establishes a predisposition to the reception of the Christian Mysteries.

This sacramental foundation of the Christian Life defines it as a 'scandal' and a 'folly' from the very outset: "... a stone of stumbling, and a rock of scandal, to them who stumble at the word, neither do believe, whereunto also they are set" (1 Peter 2:8); "Would to God you could bear with some little of my folly" (2 Corinthians 11:1).

It is Scripture and the teachings of the Fathers, indeed the whole Church, which spoils the thesis of those who assert the existence of an esoteric Christianity, institutionally distinguished from an exoteric Christianity and having its own means of grace and rites.

A close reading of the saints and mystics, indeed a study of Meister Eckhart, the 'prince of mystics', offers not one word in support of such a divisory doctrine. St Dionysius the Areopagite, who offers some of the highest doctrinal expressions of Christian gnosis, explicitly affirms the contrary by speaking simultaneously of a 'celestial' and 'legal' (esoteric/exoteric) character of Christian initiation, the Church and the Sacraments (St Dionysius, The Ecclesiastical Hierarchy).

By substitution filiation for servitude, the sacral order of the New Testament forms a step midway between text and allegory (ie comprehension and gnosis). And out of this arises its at once exoteric and esoteric character"
M. de Gandillac, Oeuvres du Pseudo-Denys, p33.)

As is evident then, whilst an esoteric dimension is by no means excluded, the idea of 'esoteric Christianity' as a separate and distinct stream, with its own understandings and access to grace as something superimposed over the 'ordinary' and supposedly ineffective Faith and Sacraments of the Church, cannot stand in the face of the testimony of the saints and mystics who stand as exemplars of the Christian way.

Contra this, Nick offers two texts as signifiers of 'esoteric Christianity'
Dwight Ott:
The phrase therefore "Esoteric Christianity is not exclusive of truth in other cultures and religions" is a somewhat self-defeating one — if it is not exclusive, and if it is common, it is neither properly Christian, nor is it particularly esoteric. So once again we have someone who approaches Christianity from a non-Christian perspective, and assumes to understand its mysteries by comparison to other systems of knowledge. Where the two can be made to coincide, even in an heterodox manner, we have agreement; where Christianity seems to stand unique and alone, it is obviously an error.

"Esoteric Christianity is concerned with the personal transformation (re-birth), possible for a person, which is taught by the life and message of Jesus Christ."
Apart from this, Christ seems incidental to the message, for Ott he is purely a teacher, or perhaps an alternative therapist.

What is striking is the claim to an authentic 'esoterism' in which the Mysteries of the Christian Faith plays no part whatsoever, and which offers a degree of enlightenment which falls far, far short of the theosis spoken of in Scripture. This is not authentic Christian esoterism, its a secular notion of what Christian esoterism might comprise, and largely its a secular psychology.

Norman D Livergood

Again we meet this 'higher consciousness' — not the life in the Mystical Body, or an engagement with the Holy Spirit and the Blessed Trinity.

"He spoke of a definite re-birth into a Higher Consciousness."
Did He, or is that what the author assumes? Please cite your proof texts. Nowhere does He say 'higher consciousness' and nowhere do the saints and mystics use such terms in the way the author presents them. Once again we have someone who calls himself 'esoteric' and then proceed to reduces the essential mysteries to mundane banalities.

"After Jesus' death, those who understood the genuine teaching of Jesus recognized him as one of a long line of savants within the Perennial Tradition -- such as Hermes and Plato -- who initiated chosen disciples into a mystical rebirth of the soul into a Higher Consciousness."
Who are these people, for the author never mentions them. Not the authors of the Gospels, not St Paul, not Clement of Alexandria nor Origen ... so what the author does is mix his own unsupported claims in with a smattering of so-called testimony to give it credence.

(Clement, by the way, believed that Plato received his wisdom either by access to the Hebrew Scriptures, or by the guidance of the Holy Spirit to prepare the ground for the reception of Christianity, 'The New Song' as he called it, in the Gentile world.)

And here is a classic, worth quoting in full:
Within a short time, there came into being a new sacerdotal state-supported Church which misrepresented Jesus as a god. Such genuine adepts as Paul, Clement of Alexandria, Marcion, Valentinus, and Origen, understood Jesus' true teachings and did not view him as a deity but as a mystical teacher. Those who instructed initiates in the authentic teachings of Jesus found it necessary to go underground, because a tyrannous, bureaucratic "church" was taken over by the Roman Empire and deformed into a "state religion."
This is rubbish ...

At this stage I shall not bother to cite texts from Paul, Clement or Origen to refute the above as utter nonsense, either by complete ignorance of the writings of those he names, or by lies. Nor do I need to refute the works of Valentinus and Marcion which have already been shown to lack a sufficient esoterism.

"Both Jesus and Paul made it clear that Christianity was decidedly not an extension of Judaism."
So the Father of whom Jesus preaches is not the God who spoke to Isreal in the Hebrew Scriptures?

Again, if that is so, why does Christ continually refer to Himself as the fulfilment of the promises made in the Hebrew Scriptures? Why does he cite the Deuteronomic Law as the foundation of His teaching, why does He profess the Shema Israel as the one commandment above all? Why at His Transfiguration, does He appear with Moses and Elijah? Why, on the other hand, does St Paul go to such lengths to demonstrate that Christ came to the Jews first, and then the Gentiles, when the Jews rejected his message? Why then does he go on to explain that the Gentiles reject Him for their own reasons?

Again, this is a concoction of assumption, misinformation and sadly, lies ...

Thomas

PS: Nick, undoubtedly you will want to respond, but please, if you do perhaps you could supply those texts of Paul, Clement and Origen that preach Christ as a 'mystical teacher' ... or any Scripture text where Jesus informs His audience the God of whom He speaks is not the God of Israel?
 
Originally Posted by wil
"Accept the Word is the Word as fact, a truth, and a reality."
I meant the Word of God. Jesus Christ.
So that still gets me some. Which word, is fact, truth, reality?

We know the gospels were written decades after his death, and most likely by folks that were not eyewitnesses. Hence we have in Mark where Jesus is asked by the scholar which are the two most important commandments and Jesus when answering correctly comes off a little arrogant...and then in Luke we have the reverse with Jesus asking the Scholar in the same situation....so which is fact, truth and reality?
 
We know the gospels were written decades after his death, and most likely by folks that were not eyewitnesses.
Well to be precise we know no such thing. We know that Mark was not an eye-witness, nor Luke. We are not sure about Matthew, beyond the fact there is material in Matthew which is unique and believed to be eye-witness. In John, the weight of evidence comes down in favour of an eye-witness, or rather, the argument that John is an eye-witness account is stronger than the contrary arguments.

In the end it's a matter of which you choose — but we do not 'know' for sure, the 'Synoptic Problem' is just that ... there is no answer.

The first canonical texts were written down some twenty years later. John's perhaps 80 years later, although many claim there's internal evidence (a certain primitive rendition of some accounts also in the Synoptics) to suggest John is in fact very early ... but be that as it may, the texts of Buddhism were not written down until some 400 years later ... do we discount all that as myth, on that basis?

...so which is fact, truth and reality?
Jesus Christ is a fact, a truth and a reality ... and the differences in the various testimonies are resolved when one accepts them as testimonies, material which the author has selected and arranged in such manner as he feels best approaches that 'fact, truth and reality' ... we know Luke draws heavily from Mark, and from other sources, we know there is so much more that could be written, but is not.

I would suggest one starts from the facts, truths and realities that can be ascertained from the Canon of the New Testament, that Jesus Christ is the Incarnate Son of God, for example (nowhere in Scripture is that denied) and once established in that, the differences can be resolved.

Get the big picture, as it were, and then see how the pieces fit together.

The other way is to play with the pieces, constructing images we assume they represent, that is we image the picture by presupposition.

Thomas
 
Well to be precise we know no such thing..... In John, the weight of evidence comes down in favour of an eye-witness, or rather, the argument that John is an eye-witness account is stronger than the contrary arguments.....John's perhaps 80 years later, although many claim there's internal evidence (a certain primitive rendition of some accounts also in the Synoptics) to suggest John is in fact very early ... but be that as it may, the texts of Buddhism were not written down until some 400 years later ... do we discount all that as myth, on that basis?
I don't believe I stated that the gospels were myth, simply inherently not direct quotes.

You say the weight of the evidence is that John was an eyewitness...80 years after the fact. So how old was he when he wrote this down? And please to discuss anything with anyone from 80, 60 or even 20 years ago and see if their stories align. Every policeman, judge, lawyer knows that eyewitnesses are always contradictory and completely unreliable moments later, much less months or years...fortunately juries, john-q-public and the masses believe such testimony as fact, truth and reality.

What is fact truth and reality is that 20-80 years after the fact the stories become sensationalized, immortalized, and cannonized.

And yes...I'll take the exact same stand on Bhuddism. (again, not saying or indicating it is mythology, just not historical, fact, truth and reality.

And no, I don't believe I need any footnotes or authority to back my statements, I surely believe logic trumps
However, for the Christian, to be Christian, is to accept the Word is the Word as a fact, a truth, and a reality. Any subsequent determination is just that, secondary and ancilliary.
Oh and you forgot to tell us which version you or some authority deemed fact, a truth, and a reality...the one where Jesus was questioned or the one where Jesus questions....
 
Thomas

The fact that you don't have the feeling for esoteric Christianity doesn't mean anything. You are a Catholic and support the exoteric church. I am attracted to esoteric Christianity which I believe to be the essential truths beneath the devolution into the exoteric Esoteric Christianity is for those that have been disappointed with exoteric Christianity.

This is why you can never understand those like Simone Weil. She doesn't believe in blind faith. Consequently she writes of an experience natural for her gift of impartial attention or detachment that is an essential aspect of esoteric Christianity. She writes:

In my arguments about the insolubility of the problem of God I had never foreseen the possibility of that, of a real contact, person to person, here below, between a human being and God I had vaguely heard tell of things of this kind, but I had never believed in them. In the Fioretti the accounts of apparitions rather put me off if anything, like the miracles in the Gospel. Moreover, in this sudden possession of me by Christ, neither my senses nor my imagination had any part; I only felt in the midst of my suffering the presence of a love, like that which one can read in the smile on a beloved face.

I had never read any mystical works because I had never felt any call to read them. In reading as in other things I have always striven to practice obedience. There is nothing more favorable to intellectual progress, for as far as possible I only read what I am hungry for at the moment when I have an appetite for it, and then I do not read, I eat. God in his mercy had prevented me from reading the mystics, so that it should be evident to me that I had not invented this absolutely unexpected contact.

Yet I still half refused, not my love but my intelligence. For it seemed to me certain, and I still think so today, that one can never wrestle enough with God if one does so out of pure regard for the truth. Christ likes us to prefer truth to him because, before being Christ, he is truth. If one turns aside from him to go toward the truth, one will not go far before falling into his arms.

After this I came to feel that Plato was a mystic, that all the Iliad is bathed in Christian light, and that Dionysus and Osiris are in a certain sense Christ himself; and my love was thereby redoubled.

I never wondered whether Jesus was or was not the Incarnation of God; but in fact I was incapable of thinking of him without thinking of him as God.

In the spring of 1940 I read the Bhagavad-Gita. Strange to say it was in reading those marvelous words, words with such a Christian sound, put into the mouth of an incarnation of God, that I came to feel strongly that we owe an allegiance to religious truth which is quite different from the admiration we accord to a beautiful poem; it is something far more categorical.
You want to minimize the Christ so as to preserve the power trip of the exoteric church. Esoteric Christianity seeks to allow a person to experience meaning and purpose normal for awakened humanity that has the Spirit within rather then only in their imagination and their ego..


The goals of esoteric christianity are different then from Judiasm. If people understood why they are complimentarty, there would be no need for the tension. Since we don't, we get what we get. Dr. Henry Leroy Finch describes this distinction well in his book: "Simone Weil and the Intellect of Grace." He writes:

................The law has a timeless character just because it is laid down once and for all as part of the timeless myth or timeless history of the people. Even when it is practiced by only a handful of people, it remains alive and authoritative. These Orthodox people are a demonstration of the original character of Judaism which did not distinguish the sacred from the secular and united the cultural, the biological, and the religious in one timeless system.

I turn to the Christian experience of time and timelessness. This is as much a closed book to Jews as the Jewish point of view is to Christians. But as the Jews have their treasure which is the treasure of the Law preserved in the torah, Christians too have their treasure, which is the spirit of Christ preserved in the Gospels.

If we study the Gospels we will find that it is life in the present - not in the timeless present of past and future, but in the (timeful) present of the NOW - that is the true essence of Christianity The secret of the teaching of Christ is that all true life is life in the present, as distinct from the past and the future. This is where reality is. If there is no experience of the present, as the now, then there is no real life at all.
From one of my old posts:

(John xv, 5) Christ relates the following parable about a vineyard:

"A certain man had a fig−tree planted in his vineyard; and he came seeking fruit thereon, and found none. And he said unto the vinedresser, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig−tree, and find none: cut it down: why doth it also cumber the ground? And he answering saith unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it; and if it bear fruit thenceforth, well; but if not, thou shalt cut it down. " (Luke xiii, 6−9)

Dr. Nicoll explains:

From this point of view Man was regarded as capable of a special growth, a special inner development, and "vineyards" were established to make this development possible. Of course, they were not actual vineyards. They were schools of teaching. What did they teach? They taught, first of all, the knowledge that could lead, if practised, to the higher level of development inherent in Man. What they taught a man was that he was an individualâ”that is, unique”who could reach this higher state of himself and that this was his real meaning and that this only could satisfy him most deeply. They began with teaching this Truth”or knowledge of this special Truth”but they led to something else. They led from Truth to a definite state of a man where he acted no longer from the Truth that brought him up to this level, but from the level itself. This was sometimes called Good. All Truth must lead to some good state as its goal. This was the idea belonging to the term "vineyard". Wine was produced. A man began to act from Good, not Truth, thus becoming a New Man.
Esoteric Christianity is concerned with the quality of NOW

Christianity requires new wine being put into new bottles. If taught directly as with battling experts, all that is there is old bottles arguing. The person feeling its worth has to make the efforts to abandon their old bottle for the sake of becoming a new bottle.

Jacob Needleman expresses this idea of beginning to "Know Thyself" as a quality of NOW in his book "Lost Christianity. From the preface:

But this is not an either/or. The premise --or rather, the proposal -- of this book is that at the heart of the Christian religion there exists, and has always existed, just such a vision of God and Man. I call it "Lost Christianity," not because it is a matter of doctrines and concepts that may have been lost or forgotten; nor even a matter of methods of spiritual practice that may need to be recovered from ancient sources. It is all that, to be sure, but what is lost in the whole of our modern life, including our understanding of religion, is something even more fundamental, without which religious ideas and practices lose their meaning and all to easily become the instruments of ignorance, fear, and hatred. What is lost is the experience of oneself -- myself, the personal being who is here, now, living, breathing, yearning for meaning, for goodness; just this person here, now, squarely confronting ones existential weaknesses and pretensions while yet aware, however tentatively, of a higher current of a higher current of life and identity calling to us from within ourselves. This presence to oneself is the missing element in the whole of the life of Man, the intermediate state of consciousness between what we are meant to be and what we actually are. it is perhaps the one bridge that can lead us from our inhuman past toward the human future.
In the writings and utterances of the great teachers of Christianity over the centuries, one may begin to discern, like a photographic image gradually developing before ones eyes, the outlines of this vision of what is called in this book "intermediate Christianity." But modern man can no longer perceive that vision or hear that language tjhat has been associated with it. Words like "humility," "purity of heart," "contrition" are no longer understood to require the individual, existential struggle, for what the early Fathers called "attention in oneself." On the contrary, it is assumed that such qualities of character can be ours in the distracted and dispersed state of being that is more and more characteristic of life in the contemporary world. The result is self deception which masks, and perhaps even intensifies, our weaknesses and which inevitably leads to the disillusionment with religious ideals that has been one of the hallmarks of the modern secular worldview. Of course, the modernist attempt to establish ethical life without religion itself ignores the same lost element in human life that has been forgotten in the conventional understanding of religion. The result is often a sad ineffectuality under the name of rousing moral formulae - or, ironically, the decay of what began in opposition to perceived religious tyranny into its own brand of quasi-religious dogmatism and violence - as witnessed for example, in the fate of communist ideology.
You want to argue these things while I prefer to be open to them so as to become able to understand rather then seek self justification for myself and a form of Christendom. It requires humility as described by simone Weil rather then righteous indigntion.

"Humility is attentive patience."

We lack attentive patience and prefer rightreous indignation. Some people believe there must be more then living in psychological slavery and incapable of humility.

You want to deny the meaning of this section from the Livergood article. Yet there is a minority open to it that IMO become inwardly able to appreciate Christianity as distinct from the man made interpretations of Christendom in the search to experience human meaning and purpose through the experience of themselves..

Mark 4: "Then when they were by themselves, his close followers and the twelve asked about the parables, and he told them: 'The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you. But to those who do not know the secret, everything remains in parables, so that, seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand lest haply they should turn again, and it should be forgiven them.'"

"So he taught them his message with many parables such as their minds could take in. He did not speak to them at all without using parables, although in private he explained everything to his disciples." [Phillips translation]

jesusp1.jpg
Matthew 13: "The man who has ears to hear should use them"

"At this the disciples approached him and asked, 'Why do you talk to them in parables?
"'Because you have been given the chance to understand the secrets of the kingdom of Heaven,' replied Jesus, 'but they have not. For when a man has something, more is given to him till he has plenty. But if he has nothing even his nothing will be taken away from him. This is why I speak to them in these parables; because they go through life with their eyes open, but see nothing, and with their ears open, but understand nothing of what they hear."' [Phillips translation]

1 Corinthians 2:6-15: "But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: which none of the princes of this world knew.

"We interpret what is spiritual in spiritual language. The unspiritual man rejects these truths of the Spirit of God; to him they are 'sheer folly,' he cannot understand them. And the reason is, that they must be read with the spiritual eye. The spiritual man, again, can read the meaning of everything; and yet no one can read what he is."

Clement of Alexandria (150-220 C.E.)

"The Lord . . . allowed us to communicate of those divine Mysteries, and of that holy light, to those who are able to receive them. He did not certainly disclose to the many what did not belong to the many; but to the few to whom He knew that they belonged, who were capable of receiving and being moulded according to them. But secret things are entrusted to speech, not to writing, as is the case with God."

"Many things, I well know, have escaped us, through length of time, that have dropped away unwritten."

"Even now I fear, as it is said, 'to cast the pearls before swine, lest they tread them underfoot, and turn and rend us.' For it is difficult to exhibit the really pure and transparent words respecting the true Light to swinish and untrained hearers."
 
Hi Nick —

I am attracted to esoteric Christianity which I believe to be the essential truths ...
I am sure you are. Nevertheless, the 'truths' contained in the references you cite I have shown, and can show in greater detail, to be erroneous in both their claims and their assumptions. So what you find may well be inviting, even inspiring, but it's not true.

She doesn't believe in blind faith.
But apparently you do, as you have accepted the statements of your 'authorities' without question, else you would have discovered for yourself their claims are not true. I request you to prove their statements.

On another point ... has it ever occurred to you that what you call 'blind faith' might well be the illumination you seek, the true gnosis: "the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things that appear not" (Hebrews 11:1)?

It's a difficult question, because to refute it, you have to show you know everything there is that can be known.

Esoteric Christianity seeks to allow a person to experience meaning and purpose normal for awakened humanity that has the Spirit within rather then only in their imagination and their ego..
Yet it's evident from the litany of errors contained in your source materials that the brand of 'esoteric Christianity' you espouse owes more to the egos and fantasies of its authors than truth or reality.

You want to argue these things while I prefer to be open to them so as to become able to understand rather then seek self justification for myself and a form of Christendom. It requires humility as described by simone Weil rather then righteous indigntion.
No I seek truth, whereas you seek self-justification ... you will apparently settle for what is untrue, if it suits you.

You also don't understand natural and proper indignation. I'll dig out the relevant psychological text from the Philokalia for you: It's either St Isaiah the Solitary, or Evagrios the Solitary (Pontikos), I can't recall which.

You want to deny the meaning of this section from the Livergood article.
I don't want to do anything. I just point out the errors and misdirection.

And if anyone had bothered to read Irenaeus of Lyon's Adversus Haereses we wouldn't be rehashing this same old story 2,000 later.

If you're not interested in the truth, just say ... I have better things to do with my time.

Thomas
 
NOTICE: This thread requires popcorn


Not just popcorn but top shelf scotch as well. If you're going to do it cOde, you must do it right.

In the words of the most highly esteemed Mullah Nassr Eddin: "Never poke your stick into a hornets' nest."

This is what someone like me does when they question the sanctity of man made interpretations, normal for the needs of the "Great Beast," of a conscious teaching that enters our plane of existence from above for the purpose of "awakening."

I'll get back to this later.
 
Thomas

I am sure you are. Nevertheless, the 'truths' contained in the references you cite I have shown, and can show in greater detail, to be erroneous in both their claims and their assumptions. So what you find may well be inviting, even inspiring, but it's not true.

You've given opinions. But in the words of Pilate in John 18: 38"What is truth?" Pilate asked.

There is only one inner truth and that is experiential. The rest is theory.

But apparently you do, as you have accepted the statements of your 'authorities' without question, else you would have discovered for yourself their claims are not true. I request you to prove their statements.
The proof is through experience. You can only prove what Simone describes in the following through personal experience.

"...It is not for man to seek, or even to believe in God. He has only to refuse to believe in everything that is not God. This refusal does not presuppose belief. It is enough to recognize, what is obvious to any mind, that all the goods of this world, past, present, or future, real or imaginary, are finite and limited and radically incapable of satisfying the desire which burns perpetually with in us for an infinite and perfect good... It is not a matter of self-questioning or searching. A man has only to persist in his refusal, and one day or another God will come to him."
-- Weil, Simone, ON SCIENCE, NECESSITY, AND THE LOVE OF GOD, edited by Richard Rees, London, Oxford University Press, 1968.- ©

I cannot prove this to someone content with drawing meaning from secularism or religious dictates. This is personal experience.

On another point ... has it ever occurred to you that what you call 'blind faith' might well be the illumination you seek, the true gnosis: "the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things that appear not" (Hebrews 11:1)?

It may and it may not. If it were by definition, Jesus wouldn't have said that how influential false prophets would become and why John said we should "test the spirits." Blind faith also allows people to blindly accept the Spanish Inquisition and the Salem Witch Trials.

Thanks but no thanks. I prefer faith as a human attribute described in Jesus' encounter with the Centurion in Luke 7 which invited Jesus remark:

9When Jesus heard this, he was amazed at him, and turning to the crowd following him, he said, "I tell you, I have not found such great faith even in Israel."

Yet it's evident from the litany of errors contained in your source materials that the brand of 'esoteric Christianity' you espouse owes more to the egos and fantasies of its authors than truth or reality.
All this means is you know nothing of Simone Weil and her experience with the Christ and don't respect Jacob Needleman's dedication to impartiality.

No I seek truth, whereas you seek self-justification ... you will apparently settle for what is untrue, if it suits you.
Again, the only way to to seek is through inner experience. We can see that we don't believe in God by admitting what we do. If we believed in god, we wouldn't do what we do.

23" 'If you can'?" said Jesus. "Everything is possible for him who believes." 24Immediately the boy's father exclaimed, "I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!"
At least the boy's father was honest about it. The secular church doesn't understand how to help a person acquire the faith of the Centurion and just speaks of blind belief. But the boy's father at least admits the truth of the human condition that we believe at times and don't believe at other times.
I don't want to do anything. I just point out the errors and misdirection.

But who does it for you? Is a church that celebrates its power during Christmas by glitzy TV performances of Christmas mass? Where is the humility in that? There is no room for it with all the posturing. Simone couldn't respect the results of the secular church and she was right. We judge the quality of the tree by its fruits and what are the fruits of this power trip? Yet there is something very valuable in Christianity that is continually thrown in the mud for the sake of this exoteric power trip.
"I am not a Catholic; but I consider the Christian idea, which has its roots in Greek thought and in the course of the centuries has nourished all of our European civilization, as something that one cannot renounce without becoming degraded." Simone Weil
Exactly!

If you're not interested in the truth, just say ... I have better things to do with my time.
Sadly it is you who are closed to the truth by not allowing yourself the impartial experience of what can lead to it. You prefer to support the power of its secular expression where Christianity seeks to abandon the attachment to secular power for the sake of experiencing and becoming part of the higher reality the teaching offers
 
Here's a thought:

We are not followers of Christ in the way that one might perhaps follow a philosopher or a teacher. We are members of Christ’s body, the Church. The Church is the body of Christ, the real body, not a moral one, as some mistaken theologians have written, not having looked deeply enough into the spirit of the Holy Church.
Despite our unworthiness and sinfulness, Christ takes us Christians and incorporates us into His body. He makes us members of Himself. We become real members of Christ, not just followers of a code of morality. As the Apostle Paul puts it, “We are members of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones” (Ephesians 5:30).
Theosis: The True Purpose of Human Life Archimandrite George, p34.

Unless one comprehends this, one cannot conceive of the Christian Life, for the Christian Life is the Life in the Body, it is an hypostasis in the technical sense of the term, the baptised soul subsists ("supported" from "stands under") by this mystical union in Christ through the operation of the Holy Spirit.

Furthermore:
For example, someone who is baptised has become a member of Christ’s body. If he does not confess, does not take Communion, does not live a spiritual life, he is a dead member of Christ’s body, but when he repents, he immediately receives divine life. This permeates him and he becomes a living member of Christ’s body. Someone like this does not need to be re-baptised.
(Ibid, p35.)

This is the intrinsic argument.

Christian esoterism can only be approached through the Sacrament of Baptism. Only through baptism are we born into the Holy Spirit ("Jesus answered: Amen, amen I say to thee, unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God" John 3:5), and only in the Spirit can man perceive the things of the spirit.

This baptism, however, establishes a possibility, a new life, a new potentiality that is itself super-natural. It is then up to the individual to realise it, to actualise it in himself: "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me" Matthew 16:24).

No matter how steeped in sin, this opening of the heart to Christ (metanoia) results in immediate sanctification, by the grace of forgiveness the opacity of sin (a veil) is absolved — Christ rejoices in finding the lost sheep — the true image of the soul (logoi) "holy and unspotted in his sight in charity" (Ephesians 1:4) founded in the Logos before the creation of the world (cf Ephesians 1:4).

The immediacy of grace is evident in the resurrection of Lazarus (John 11, nor overlook the beggar Lazarus in Luke 16), and the redemption of the Robber on the Cross (Luke 23).

All this only further points to the error and artifice of assuming 'degrees' of grace; by proposing an esoterism that is distinct from its exoterism (apart from the fact that an esoterism cannot be present outside of its exoteric component) one is assuming degrees of Divine Love, that God portions out his love according to the quality of the intellect and not the soul, of and in which the intellect is a subsidiary power.

That God loves the saint more than the sinner — this is a human error in seeking to quantify God, and then justify reducing love to a mere volumetric measure rather than a pure grace.

And in the end, as is so sadly evident, man determines who is deserving of God's love, and who is not, based on his own arbitrary opinion.

How can the pursuit of all the knowledge in the world lead us to our primordial innocence? "Amen I say to you, unless you be converted, and become as little children, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 18:3) — I daresay it's easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than it is for a man who knows the world to become as a child.

No amount of psychological alchemy can make the soul holy, any more than we can heal the would of our own fallen nature, but we can offer up ourselves, wounded, to be healed and made whole — consider the Myth of the Fisher King, the Dolorous Wound and a body rendered a Wasteland.

No exercise of man's intellect or ingenuity can achieve this. Metanoia is an exercise in humility, not intellectual capacity.

The Temple of Apollo says to man "Know thyself" — by Christ rebuked man when he said "Physician, heal thyself" (Luke 4:23) — for well we might know that we are in need of help, but only He can help us.

It is not in strength we come to Him, but weakness, learn that lesson, only then He can heal us, only when we offer up our suffering, can He take it away.

A prayer for when we are lost and looking:
O my God, I shall cry by day, and thou wilt not hear:
and by night, and it shall not be reputed as folly in me.
But thou dwellest in the holy place, the praise of Israel.
In thee have our fathers hoped: they have hoped,
and thou hast delivered them.
They cried to thee, and they were saved:
they trusted in thee, and were not confounded.

And to him my soul shall live: and my seed shall serve him.
There shall be declared to the Lord a generation to come:
and the heavens shall show forth his justice to a people that shall be born,
which the Lord hath made.
Psalm 21:3-6, 31-32.

Thomas
 
I don't believe I stated that the gospels were myth, simply inherently not direct quotes.
But we can't say that either. Even the Jesus Seminar admits that some quotes are 'probably' direct. No-one knows.

And does it matter? Is it the letter we seek, or the spirit? D'you really think that someone decided to really spice things up, and put all those words in Jesus' mouth?

Or, more to the point, that various people were concocting various spurious testimonies nigh-on simultaneously, that correspond with each other?

You say the weight of the evidence is that John was an eyewitness...80 years after the fact. So how old was he when he wrote this down?
I am saying the Johannine Community at Ephesus had his testimony. There is a growing argument that the basic text, including the miracles, and its structure, a Book of Signs and a Book of Glory, might well date from around 40-45.

And please to discuss anything with anyone from 80, 60 or even 20 years ago and see if their stories align... Every policeman, judge, lawyer knows that eyewitnesses are always contradictory and completely unreliable moments later, much less months or years...fortunately juries, john-q-public and the masses believe such testimony as fact, truth and reality.
Then you have to make a decision. Has God founded a Church, and then abandoned it?

And yes...I'll take the exact same stand on Bhuddism. (again, not saying or indicating it is mythology, just not historical, fact, truth and reality.
Then why be a Christian, or a Buddhist? Why believe in anything that has no factual, historical, truthful or real basis?

And no, I don't believe I need any footnotes or authority to back my statements,
Of course not, it's just your opinion, to which you are entitled. As I keep saying, the point of the Theology Board is to understand doctrines, not for people to voice their opinions on them.

I surely believe logic trumps Oh and you forgot to tell us which version you or some authority deemed fact, a truth, and a reality...the one where Jesus was questioned or the one where Jesus questions....
There is a Buddhist tale, as I recall, about the finger and the moon. I think it applies here.

Thomas
 
Thomas,

You ask why believe...I believe the essense is there. I believe the books were divinely inspired. Just not every jot and tittle is correct.

So I can believe and utilize the text, but still have to chuckle at the concept of fact, truth, reality in toto.

Yeah, the best we've got is probably direct.

Has G!d founded a church and then ignored it?? I don't understand the question..a. I don't believe G!d founded a church man did and claimed divinity, just as kings and Caesars did...following suit. But how do you believe that I believe G!d ignored it?
 
Wil, you say:
I believe the essense is there. I believe the books were divinely inspired. Just not every jot and tittle is correct.
Which is no more than we say.

Perhaps with the proviso that God did not inspire the Sacred Scribe to write the truth — that is guide the mind and hand — He wished to be made known on the one hand, and then allow that same mind and hand to write something else to confound it, and render the whole thing void, on the other.

So I can believe and utilize the text, but still have to chuckle at the concept of fact, truth, reality in toto.
If you met Christ upon the road, and He said, "This day you shall be with me in paradise" would you chuckle then, at the idea of paradise?

Has G!d founded a church and then ignored it??
I mean would Christ have imparted His teaching to the Twelve, and made no provision to ensure its proper transmission thereafter — even when He gave His word that He would?

I don't believe G!d founded a church man did and claimed divinity, just as kings and Caesars did...following suit. But how do you believe that I believe G!d ignored it?
I think I'm saying I don't think you actually believe in the message of the text at all, I think you just 'utilize' some of the ideas contained there.

Thomas
 
This is what someone like me does when they question the sanctity of man made interpretations,


Last time I checked Nick, you were the one who was preaching the virtues of
man made interpretations while rejecting the authority of revealed scriptures.
 
Thomas

I don't mean to be offensive but Christianity is more than a label. Just because something calls itself a church and performs rituals doesn't mean that it is a living church with the Spirit. Most churches have lost the Spirit and have become empty churches with rituals and with out any inner understanding.

"To seek God by rituals is to get the ritual and lose God in the process, for he hides behind it. On the other hand, to seek God without artifice, is to take him as he is, and so doing, a person 'lives by the Son,' and is the Life itself." Meister Eckhart

I'm sorry but baptism is more then someone acting a part sprinkling some water and saying some words. Most priests are priests in name only. To baptize with the spirit requires having the Spirit. Here is a Christian with the Spirit. I'm not saying someone has to be at such a level but when a person is dominated by secular imagination, they cannot have the Spirit.

"...a man should shine with the divine Presence without having to work at it. He should get the essence out of things and let the things themselves alone. That requires at first attentiveness and exact impressions, as with the student and his art. So one must be permeated with the divine Presence, informed with the form of beloved God who is within him, so that he may radiate that Presence without working at it." Meister Eckhart

Paul in Ephesians is referring to a living church within which the Spirit can help in man's awakening.

I'm not arguing theosis but questioning if you appreciate what the following biblical passage means beyond a secular interpretation:

John 12:

23Jesus replied, "The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. 25The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.

This is more then a change of attitude or of behavior but rather a change of "being" which is the theosis of esoteric Christianity.
Unless one comprehends this, one cannot conceive of the Christian Life, for the Christian Life is the Life in the Body, it is an hypostasis in the technical sense of the term, the baptised soul subsists ("supported" from "stands under") by this mystical union in Christ through the operation of the Holy Spirit.

Yes this is the advantage of Christianity. As Buddha said, life is suffering. If it is, can our suffering serve more then mechanical animal suffering? It can but it requires being able to consciously carry ones cross. Simone Weil explains the relationship of suffering and Christianity from the point of views of one with direct experience.

"The tremendous greatness of Christianity", writes Simone Weil, "comes from the fact that it does not seek a supernatural remedy against suffering but a supernatural use of suffering."

Christian esoterism can only be approached through the Sacrament of Baptism. Only through baptism are we born into the Holy Spirit ("Jesus answered: Amen, amen I say to thee, unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God" John 3:5), and only in the Spirit can man perceive the things of the spirit.
The trouble is how many are capable of baptizing? I don't see much awakening in the world. Also can a person receive the Spirit without a ritual? Jesus brought the Spirit into the world so it would seem that those like Simone, growing up as an Atheist can receive the Spirit.
All this only further points to the error and artifice of assuming 'degrees' of grace; by proposing an esoterism that is distinct from its exoterism (apart from the fact that an esoterism cannot be present outside of its exoteric component) one is assuming degrees of Divine Love, that God portions out his love according to the quality of the intellect and not the soul, of and in which the intellect is a subsidiary power.
God doesn't portion out divine love but rather we can gradually become more open to receive it. The esoteric is connected to the exoteric because it is through the conscious esoteric attention becoming able to know the automatic reacting exoteric level allows us to be seen as we become open to receive help from above. Consider the Gospel of Thomas:
(3) Jesus said, "If those who lead you say to you, 'See, the kingdom is in the sky,' then the birds of the sky will precede you. If they say to you, 'It is in the sea,' then the fish will precede you. Rather, the kingdom is inside of you, and it is outside of you. When you come to know yourselves, then you will become known, and you will realize that it is you who are the sons of the living father. But if you will not know yourselves, you dwell in poverty and it is you who are that poverty."

How can the pursuit of all the knowledge in the world lead us to our primordial innocence? "Amen I say to you, unless you be converted, and become as little children, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 18:3) — I daresay it's easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than it is for a man who knows the world to become as a child.

Jesus said that we must give to Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's. Is there any reason why we should not pursue science and faith at the same time? They are two different domains that should be connected and Man should be able to connect them for thy will to be done on earth as it is in heaven. Is there any reason why a christian cannot be a real Man able to connect the sacred and the secular?
No amount of psychological alchemy can make the soul holy, any more than we can heal the would of our own fallen nature, but we can offer up ourselves, wounded, to be healed and made whole — consider the Myth of the Fisher King, the Dolorous Wound and a body rendered a Wasteland.
For that you will have to die to yourself but are you willing to die? How can you offer yourself without first being able to "know thyself?" Without understanding, we will offer our imagination for the sake of enhancing our opinion of ourselves while calling ourselves healed.

Peter could never understand this. He was willing to sacrifice his opinion of right and wrong but to offer himself buy admitting himself became impossible before he experienced the shock of denying Jesus three times. He saw he was governed by appearance and was not in touch with the inner reality that caused his denial.

Where Jesus includes a developed inner man, the Pharisee represents how the attraction to "appearance" or vanity governs our life. Esoteric Christianity knows that the Pharisee is within us. We underestimate how much we are governed by appearance but it is something we must come to grips with before becoming able to reserve a place for the Spirit in our psych.

"Grace fills empty spaces, but it can only enter where there is a void to receive it We must continually suspend the work of the imagination in filling the void within ourselves."
"In no matter what circumstances, if the imagination is stopped from pouring itself out, we have a void (the poor in spirit). In no matter what circumstances... imagination can fill the void. This is why the average human beings can become prisoners, slaves, prostitutes, and pass thru no matter what suffering without being purified."

"That is why we fly from the inner void, since God might steal into it. It is not the pursuit of pleasure and the aversion for effort which causes sin, but fear of God. We know that we cannot see him face to face without dying, and we do not want to die."
-- Gravity and Grace
We don't know ourselves which is why we remain prisoners. We don't see how much our lives are governed by our acquired conditioning that when taken together form our personality. This is very hard and why so few people are capable of it. Our personality is so strong that we don't see what it inhibits. It feels like our lives so naturally we don't want to let die what we believe is ourselves for the sake of a new inner experience that is our potential.
 
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