Thursday 31 January 2019


          When used in the New Testament this word metanoia means change of mind, and goes hand-in-hand with regret and remorse. This was the message of both John the Baptist and Jesus when they called people to repentance. In the Old Testament, repentance appeared to mean something quite different. Interestingly I feel, this change of meaning between the two Testaments also reflects a radical change in the understanding of the nature of God. But discussion of that consideration is beyond this post.
          Repentance as used in the Old Testament is a subject much loved by low church, moralistic, bible-thumping, protestant preachers. The Roman Catholic Inquisition......well let us not dwell on their methods of restoring sinners and backsliders to orthodoxy. Of course, bullying people to recant their heretical urges is not, and I suppose never was, the prerogative of the religious. How would party politics for example survive otherwise?
          One of the essential outcomes of changing one's thinking, in essence admitting one can be wrong, is that one acquires a very different and broadening outlook on life. When one's mode of thinking has become addictive, a state which I fear afflicts most of us in one form or another, that change in thinking, which Jesus continually exhorted his listeners to adopt, can cut to the very heart of psychological denial. For me, that is the essential value of repentance. It requires experiencing regret and remorse, not difficult when that denial is displayed in the glow of enlightenment, because those twin experiences serve to aid the necessary change.
          Once the habitual way of thinking has been broken, regret and remorse will have served their purpose and can be dispensed with. To persist in indulging in them does nothing for the individual except run the risk of slipping into other dysfunctions such as self pity. And this process of metanoia will still need to be continued, for one does not become a perfect as the result of a once and forever act.

Saturday 26 January 2019

New Possibilities

          I must present this as it revealed itself to me. I was puzzled [yet sadly not interested enough for too long to investigate further] by the Church's declaration of truth about the New Testament in the face of the apparently nonsensical, illogical events detailed in that testament. I was also puzzled by the obvious contradictions between the Old and the New Testaments. How could all this be if it was supposed to be eternal truth?
          I became aware, and I am not always a quick learner of spiritual truth, that the four gospels appeared to detail a mythology of the Christ. On further consideration it seemed to me that mythology, an allegorical narrative about the gods, although close to the target might not quite hit the mark. Perhaps legends, traditional stories sometimes popularly regarded as historical but not authenticated, might be closer to the truth. The legends would tell the stories of a man, Jesus the Nazarene, seen from an inner, psycho-spiritual perspective rather than a strictly historical one. St. Paul on one occasion said that the event in Jesus' life to which the apostle was, on one occasion, referring should be seen as an allegory. Because the stories, so rich in symbolism, could be seen from an inner perspective, they might just be telling a deeper story of the Christ as it lived its life through the physical man, Jesus. Not him, but that which lives through him, St. Paul might have said.
          Suddenly, new possibilities began to open in rapid succession, too rapidly to be consigned to my computer in one fell swoop. All my spiritual investigations began to come together to make symbolic sense of what had appeared to be nonsensical, illogical events. Slowly now, I began to realise just what this New Testament to humankind might mean.

Tuesday 22 January 2019

The Word of God

          There have been four great religious-philosophical influences in my life. Each of them have had, and continue to have, a major influence on my thinking and my way of life. The first of those influences is Christianity and the Bible, inevitably so since I was raised in a fundamentalist, born again, Christian family. This has been a force both for good and for ill. The second influence is the 'Twelve Step Program of Spiritual Recovery' which started with Alcoholics Anonymous and later adopted by its sister organisation Al-Anon for friends and families of alcoholics, and also - in a modified form - by Narcotics Anonymous. Next came my studies of the Mystical Qabalah, and finally the writings of Father Richard Rohr OFM of New Mexico.
          As a child I was taught that everything should be based on the Holy Bible, the Word of God. In that tome were all the answers to all questions. No other questions existed. The Word was spiritual law, eternal and unchanging. It wasn't until much, much later that I realised that Jesus himself contradicted this unchanging law on a number of occasions. "The prophets said.......but I say unto you......." etc.. Interestingly, when the Church and certain  groups of religious adherents [incidentally, not all Christians by any means] wish to lay down the law on various matters, it seems inevitable that they turn to Old Testament law. Jesus the wisdom teacher rarely or never comes into the picture.
          But there is another meaning to the phrase, Word of God, and one which is of far greater value for the psycho-spiritual life. That Word is spoken of in the famous opening chapter of St. John's gospel:

In the beginning was the Word:
The Word was with God and the Word was God.

I say again, the Word was God, not some dysfunctional ego with divine aspirations. These words are not just idle, biblical jargon for the past but words of profound meaning relevant to modern times. The process of biblical exegesis [Midrash by ancient Judaic authorities] continues today and throws an exciting light on developing spiritual enlightenment. What a great pity it is that so many eyes, both Christian and otherwise [the religious do not have a monopoly on bigotry] still need to be opened; that there are so many who even lack the desire for that opening. Why run away from spiritual pain when the rewards are so great?

Sunday 20 January 2019

About Inner Conversations - An Archive

          I have decided to recommence writing. The surface reason for so doing is to remove the sense of needing to do this thing. The deeper reasons for so doing I am uncertain about. In any case, those reasons lie between me and my inner self. I have realised for quite some time now that putting my thoughts onto private files simply doesn't have the effect that writing a blog post has. It appears that I need to write as if someone else is watching. That observer, an internal presence, appears to be one which is best served by projection onto an outer audience.
          Much that I chose to share in earlier posts will not be produced in this present series of posts. Why would I? My internal observer already accesses that deeper, more intimate information and with 'him' it is safe.
          Thus you my readers, assuming such exist, will be looking into this new archive but with limited access. If you choose to comment, your remarks will be published as they are presented. I hope that some of you will share your experiences and thoughts with me, but there must be no sense of obligation to do so. For my part, I will write as it comes. To place any form of correctness, political or otherwise, on my writing will only block possible paths from which I could benefit. As always, I hope this approach will offer no-one any offence in any form.
          But enough of explanations, a start has been made. I must admit to feeling somewhat rusty [it has been two years since my last post], but relieved. Perhaps already some inner purpose has been realised.