Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Truth and Authority

Ideologically driven leadership, be it religious or political, has the habit or sense of the need to “control” matters and “maintain order.” They especially dislike the fact that ideas resist this impulse to control. Timid or authoritarian leaders tend approach “the problem of truth” by two ways: A. they attempt to boil “truth” down to essential formulas, imagining that in this way truth too becomes “manageable” and b. they attempt to control truth imagining they can contain it by using mundane instruments of power.

Truth however because it is always greater than anyone trying to control it defies these misguided habits, and remains “controllable” only in ways consistent with the grandeur of God.

On the one hand creating formulas proves insufficient because truth reflects reality which is two-fold in nature. It is comprised of both principles and providence. Principles are static and immutable (and can be rendered into formulas), but providence, namely the historical flow of history met with the transformative force of principles interpreted and applied cannot be reduced to formulas.

The progressive forward flow of reality is that element of divine and human existence which gives authoritarian (control-based) leaders the most discomfort. Providence is progressive, and proceeds into the horizon of choice and abundance. Because of this it requires interpretation which by nature is multiform. Truth pertaining to this end of the spectrum cannot be achieved by generating lists of essential (static) principles. A broad and unified home for truth sufficient to embrace providence can be gained only in an atmosphere of openness, trust, dialogue, and consensus (things which tend to be felt as threatening to timid or authoritarian leaders).

Establishing parameters of interpretation sufficient to sustain the homogeneity of a community requires putting forth accessible principles, processes, and publicly identifying and acknowledging persons in the community for the purpose of relating to the multiform by nature of interpretation. These three (principles, processes, and publicly identified and acknowledged persons) should be given the brief by the leadership, with the assent of the community to meet the challenge of harmonizing the multiplicity of interpretation into a common voice. The public and accessible aspect is requisite so as to retain accountability. Truth is allergic to back room politics.

Authoritarian leaders, however, leaders pursue uniformity (also in the area of controlling truth) by seeking to utilize:
a. Control over access to centers of authority
b. Control over human and material resources
c. Control over imprimatur (i.e., what writing and speaking is acknowledged as "offical")

While it is possible to control the physical wherewithal of others by such means for a limited period of time, it is not possible to likewise control ideas. No regime in history, regardless of its might has ever successfully controlled ideas though many have tried. This will always be the case, even for communities where a heavenly truth and a profoundly shared ideal obtain.

Sunday, May 30, 2004

Religion, Humans, and Angels: Breathing In and Breathing Out

Religion, or more specifically the providence of God progresses contingent upon people responsible for the race as a whole fulfilling their responsibilities. God implicates his omnipotence into the service of retaining integrity in a genuine relationship of love with human beings. In fact God’s power is best seen in His decision to sustain instead of destroy our race.

The human being is a bifurcated spiritual entity, fully human as grounded in divine origins, but angelic in nature as a result of the genetics and dynamics of the original human fall. This fact or reality creates an essentially 4 quadrant dynamic through which God weaves the grand scheme of restoration. These four quadrants are: Good human/bad human, and good angel/bad angel. The activities, habits, and nature of all 4 of these are used by God to move restoration forward, but the main effort is to diminish the bad angel, in favor of the good angel, diminish the bad human being also as it is the enemy of the good angel, but finally, and here is where the providence is always difficult, to diminish the good angel, as it is the “enemy” of the good human being.

In order to carry out this complex strategy, God divides the human race into two types of people, angelic type people, and human type people. Thus each human being (during restoration) is primarily of one type or another, but as a type, carrying both a good and bad rendition of their “type.” The front end of advancing the providence occurs with good angel-types and good human-types.

In this set up you find two people both of whom have a strong knowledge of their own goodness (having passed through extreme demands to subjugate their own “bad” side.) These “good” types must meet and be used by God in the final task of elevating the “good human,” over the “good angel.”

The problem with trying to advance this scenario is that it is far easier to come by good angle-types than it is to come by good human being-types. The reason for this is that there have always existed good angels since the beginning of creation, but there has only been one or two good human beings. There are precedents for good angels, but virtually none for good human beings. This is good, other than for the fact that angels are a dime a dozen, God has always had them and a few more or less humans with “good” angelic nature are not especially what God finally seeks.

For this reason, even when things are going pretty great for God, most of the time the providence is really just creeping along. Usually some angelic type is running things imagining themselves to be just what the doctor ordered, not realizing that this is actually a disappointing delay for God’s original desire, for as I said, angels are no problem for God… He can create them all the time, any ol’ time. They are not what God finally wants, but they are infinitely better than “bad” human beings.

Since it is so hard (virtually impossible) to come by a good human being (especially one who endures as such for any length of time), good angelic-types end up occupying central positions of responsibility almost all the time. They get habituated into the position and privilege, and despite the great good they do for extended periods of time, they often if not usually end up obstructing the final steps toward providential advance, by failing to realize that at the end of the day, they were not the goal, but a necessary step.

Angels are unimaginative, and uncreative. They do not produce anything, they only reflect the divine. They do not offer anything - other than faithful obedience, which is surely indispensable for dispensational progress, but not anything of genuine fascination or joy to God. By comparison, you are grateful and happy every time your car starts, but on the other hand, that’s what it’s supposed to do. Same with an angelic “leader”

This is how the providence of God has to progress. Each time there is a fleeting occasion of a human-type becoming “good,” God places that person in a position of central responsibility. God allows this set up to last as long as possible, but invariably the situation must revert back to angelic control because, human goodness, an essentially untried, un-pioneered reality, always slips into its satanic roots to become “fallen.” “Good angelic types are then re-summoned and brought in to coral the emerging fallen nature re-arising in the human-type leader. Though though narrow, unimaginative, and uncreative leading always through control, incapable of leading by love, the angel-type must “lead” once again. An arid, narrow, suspicious era, forever incapable of emulating God’s loving heart, at least it is better than “bad” human beings.

By this process the providence creeps forward at a snail’s pace, with angelic types running things most of the time. The use of good angelic-types to reign in the creeping emergence of the “bad” during the time of human-type leadership, is what I call “breathing in.” It is constrictive, narrowing, reigning in, shutting down. It is order, orthodoxy, propriety. It is vapid, dry, insubstantial, a negative energy, a policing. All this is perfectly fine, since it helps God immensely. Its only problem is its tendency to mis-perceive itself to be the “end” of God’s desire, and its tendency to resist God as obstructionist, whenever God tries to move toward His preferred step.