Thursday 17 January 2019

"Not of this World" - My comment on a post at William Wildblood's blog

A comment to the post My Kingdom is Not of this World, at Meeting the Masters.

What I think has made matters difficult for so many Christians, is that they have been taught (for nearly 2000 years, including many great saints and other Christian exemplars) that Christianity IS The Church. And outside The Church there is no salvation, and no truth. The individual's job is to obey the The Church.

Which specific church varies, of course. But for centuries the contrast was between The World and The Church. Unworldly meant within-Church.

But we are now in a situation where nearly all of the Churches are worldly first-and-foremost - and often leaders in worldliness; and if their teachings and practices were followed - then this would do as much, or more, harm as good.

Especially in terms of a materialistic, this-worldly focus. The churches mention Jesus from time to time; but the context is one that firmly puts Jesus in a subordinate place to the really 'serious' Church concerns of antiracism/ pro-mass-immigration, the feminist and LGBT agenda, leftist politics, global warming etc.

It really is difficult to escape from this Christianity=Church trap - at least I found it so, despite being a late life convert. I expended a great deal of time and energy (about four-five years) trying to find a church that was really Christian/ not-worldly - and to which I could promise obedience.

Only when the possibilities seemed exhausted did I reluctantly try to devise a means of 'survival' while waiting - and then only later did I realise that this was in fact what I needed.

I needed to take ultimate spiritual responsibility - and I had been looking for a way to pass this off onto an institution.

The main loss is the sacramental side - specifically Holy Communion in a traditional and not-worldly Church of England setting; which I did find to be valuable. Suitable occasions for this are now few and far between.

The loss is real, but there is no alternative for me - and overall my spiritual situation is much better than when I was rather desperately church-shopping.

Note: When Jesus says 'my kingdom is not of this world', I believe that he primarily meant that we enter his kingdom fully only after death and resurrection. Secondarily, because of this fact, our priorities in this world ought to be changed. Having faith in that eternal destination, re-frames (or, ought-to re-frame) our basic and detailed understanding of our mortal lives; and therefore our conduct of our mortal lives.

1 comment:

Robert Brockman said...

The problem here is that you need a Master — not as in a master - servant relationship, but as in a master - apprentice relationship. The purpose of a church is to provide masters who have both Knowledge and the ability to teach as well as the infrastructure to make this process efficient. In Christianity, Jesus was the original master and the disciples were the first apprentices. They followed him because they believed that he was willing and able to give them Knowledge. They were obedient to Him during their training, and this obedience was to some degree blind because they did not yet fully understand the totality of His teaching.

*Only once their apprenticeship was complete* and he had taught them what they needed to know did they become his friends. It was always His intention that his disciples / apprentices reach his full level of knowledge and capability, however to reach this he needed them first to be obedient and thus willingly comply with his exercises, directives, and Laws. Neither the God of the Old Testament nor his Son are interested in our obedience to their commandments and Laws for their own interests, but because they know that our obedience to these directives will help *us* — that’s why the instructions were given, out of love for us, the will to advance our spiritual growth.

A church becomes useless once its “masters” lose the ability to teach. With proper apostolic succession this should never happen, because the master will not grant his apprentices the authority to teach until he knows they fully understand the Knowledge and are competent to transmit it. You have determined (likely correctly) that the “masters” that the “churches” in your vicinity have provided are fake, and demand obedience only to advance their own corruption — this discernment requires calling on one’s inner divininty. However, you still lack a master, so any spiritual progress you make must be done as original research, either individually or in small groups. The difficulty and inefficiency of this process is obvious.

There is no way our species can survive, much less progress, without a proper lineage of Masters. Consider that you are essentially trying to reverse-engineer the spiritual training that Jesus gave his disciples ~2000 years ago. You are a doctor and professor who has studied these matters with utmost sincerity and diligence for many years, yet you are *nowhere near* the level of capability that Jesus’s disciples, especially John, had reached after a mere 3 years of apprenticeship.

I believe you are right that John learned the totality of the teachings, was resurrected, and is thus *still out there*. The instant we come to this conclusion the sanest course of action is to *go find him* and thus save us and everyone else a great deal of time and grief.

— Robert Brockman