visitor to Beyond Religion has written:
am repelled and fascinated by the thought processes
of people who are literalists in the face of scholarship,
anthropology and history. It seems to me that religion
is being highjacked by conservative politics. These
over-bearing folks don't care what the Dead Sea Scrolls
or other scholarship tells us. They don't care about
thoughtful interpretation of metaphors. They only care
about the literal interpretation of the good old simple
stories. And folks had better believe them or they will
be declared out of order. Surely the churches have taken
one giant step forward and three giant steps backwards.
love the ocean. I can sit and watch the waves for hours.
Their endless power and variety fascinate me. But, in
watching the breakers, we may be unaware of a more subtle
force which is part of the process. What is the dying
aspect of a wave? The undertow. The new wave comes in,
exhausts itself, and returns to the sea. In the process,
it creates an undertow that sucks everything with it.
that undertow is never as powerful as the wave. It is
merely the end of a cycle. In fact, the undertow is
the promise that a new wave is on its way. The newly
forming breaker actually produces some of the energy
for the undertow, sucking the water into what will become
the next wave.
the undertow always moves in a direction diametrically
opposed to that of the new wave. Yet, for all its force,
it is powerless to prevent the new wave from breaking.
So don't despair; what we see in this conservative backlash
is the dying gasp of an old paradigm. What we feel is
the backward tug of the old order on our ankles. You
and I, hopefully, will live long enough to get soaked
by the crashing of the new wave.
are right on the leading edge of the next step in our
spiritual evolution. This new stage, which is already
well under way, will incorporate all the new thought
truths we have studied, and many more that we haven't
yet discovered. But the flotsam of the old order has
to be cleaned out first, sucked back into the deep to
be refreshed as part of the next breaker. It's the Yin
and the Yang of life, the inhaling and the exhaling
of God, the never-ending cycle of creation.
took the people of Israel toward the promised land,
but realized that they weren't ready to enter it. They
kept looking back, wanting to return to bondage. Their
emotional undertow tied them to the past rather than
the future, even though that past had robbed them of
their freedom. So Moses took them into the wilderness
where they waited until all those born in slavery had
died off. Then, when only those born in freedom were
left, they were ready to enter the new land. That story
is a powerful metaphor. The old order always drags its
feet, and it always loses. We just keep forgetting that
part of history.
heart! The new generation coming to adulthood among
us now is less religious and more spiritual than former
generations. So there is real hope.
Jan. 1, 2004
John W. Sloat 2004