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the boxing ring

  • because morality in particular is a common counterfeit for religion, and often substitutes as a false absolute, we will see that Paul takes law on in a special way
  • law, prophets, wisdom
  • “You must learn the meaning of the law very well, so you will know how to disobey it properly.” You must know and respect the rules before you can break the rules
  • Until an objective inner witness emerges that looks back at us with utter honesty, one cannot speak of being awake or conscious. That is at the heart of what we mean by “waking up”!
  • (1) The Law is the thesis; it lays the ground (2) against which the Prophets develop a positive antithesis, but yet a critique. The dialectic begins; people struggle into consciousness. (3) Then, and only then, come the Wisdom books, which are synthesis and integration
  • the actor with a plank in his eye
  • Archaic religion and most of the history of religion has almost always seen the shadow as the problem. What religion is about is getting rid of the shadow, isn’t it? This is the classic example of dealing with the symptom instead of the cause
  • Any over-concern for sexual rules or purity codes are almost always repression or punishment of shadow issues, and of other people, and Jesus shows little interest there.
  • Jesus is not too interested in moral purity because he knows that any preoccupation with repressing the shadow does not lead us into personal transformation, empathy, compassion or patience, but invariably into one of two certain paths: denial or disguise, repression or hypocrisy
  • the real sin
  • The requirements for sin were three: (1) You had to have full knowledge; (2) it had to be a grievous matter; (3) you had to give it full consent
  • That all sounds reasonable at first glance, but actually it’s not a definition of biblical sin at all; it’s a juridical definition of law
  • We made the whole thing juridical where we could easily identify it, shame it and enforce it
  • paul’s contribution
  • Laws can only give us information, and even helpful information, but they cannot give us transformation
  • He will actually say that God gave us the law to show us that we can’t obey the law!
  • Torah, or Law, is the best and most helpful place to begin, but not the place to stay, and surely not the place to end. “Written letters bring death, but the Spirit alone brings life,” as Paul said (2 Corinthians 3:6)
  • Until people have had some level of inner religious experience, there is no point in asking them to follow the ethical ideals of Jesus
  • We want law for the sake of order, obedience and “moral purity”
  • God and Paul want law for the sake of channeling us toward a realization of divine union, to force the honest person to stumble (see Romans 7:7-13–that’s really what it says!), and then “fall into the hands of the living God” (Hebrews 10:31)
  • If you want to hate somebody, want to be vicious or vengeful or cruel or vindictive, I can tell you a way to do it without feeling an ounce of guilt: Do it for religious reasons!
  • The purpose of spiritual law is simply to sharpen our awareness about who we are and who God is, so that we can name our own insufficiency and, in that same movement, Find God’s fullness.
  • When we make black-and-white law our goal and purpose, it comes back to haunt us, because people leave and attack us with the same black-and-white thinking in which we have trained them

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