Poetry, parables are acts of imagination that offer and purpose "alternative worlds" because they are open, door ways to infinite possibilities. Can imagination be indeed a legitimate way of knowing?
Numbness does not hurt like torture, but in a profound insidious way, numbness robs us of our humanity, and makes us infinitely smaller. It is taking an eraser and removing the God-image in those who do not fit. Has our imagination been claimed by false lenses of perception and idolatrous theology that we protect and defend as absolute “truth?”
Are spiritual nomads, navigating a changing landscape and taking seriously, the shaping of their own field of perception and language of understanding? When we become so at home in a belief system, do we become oblivious to the points of contact in our neighborhoods, in culture, in technology, and art...do we drift and drown in an ocean of irrelevance?
The dominant partisan religious culture, now and in every time, is grossly uncritical, cannot tolerate serious and fundamental criticism, and will go to great lengths to stop it.
Jesus dismantled the religion of static triumphalism by exposing their gods and showing God was profoundly more mysterious than their “truth.” Jesus dismantles the religion of oppression and exploitation by countering it with the profound mysterious reality of “truth” being God’s infinite love.
When we leave our theology unexamined and unquestioned, we end up being slaves to it. When believe in our theology at what ever the cost...do we end up suffocating the redemptive imagination of Jesus?
William Blake called imagination, " the body of God ".
The Garden of Love
I laid me down upon a bank,
Where Love lay sleeping;
I heard among the rushes dank
Then I went to the heath and the wild,
To the thistles and thorns of the waste;
And they told me how they were beguiled,
Driven out, and compelled to the chaste.
I went to the Garden of Love,
And saw what I never had seen;
A Chapel was built in the midst,
Where I used to play on the green.
And the gates of this Chapel were shut
And 'Thou shalt not,' writ over the door;
So I turned to the Garden of Love
That so many sweet flowers bore.
And I saw it was filled with graves,
And tombstones where flowers should be;
And priests in black gowns were walking their rounds,
And binding with briars my joys and desires.
William Blake called imagination, " the body of God ", or even more profoundly, " the existence of humanity." As I begin to pull on this strand of imagination the images I placed at the beginning and end of William Blakes poem, " The Garden of Love ", will begin to make sense.
There is no rituals, no doctrine, no theology...just one command, " Don't eat of the tree of knowledge." They are tempted...and they eat. This is what Augustine mused as the " orginal sin." I wonder if we still aren't sinning then?
The Old Testament seems nothing more than humanity's wreckless pursuit of religion. We delude ourselves in thinking religion was God's idea. We wanted laws, rules and commandments to keep...and when we failed we wanted ammendments to the laws. This was so far from the intimacy in the garden of Eden. But we were hoplessly hooked...it was always just one more chance and we'll get it right. We never did...and we never will.
As many times as I have read the gospels...I never come away with an image of a religious Jesus. I come away with my imagination ignited of a God who doesn't occupy a church, but a God who walks in the midst of his creation...as a friend. There are no barriers, no rituals, no confession of beliefs are needed to abide with this profound mysyerious God, who Jesus called, " Love."
I wonder if Jesus in the profound mysterious redemptive imagination he lived and spoke...if he didn't envision a new creation like the Garden of Eden...where it wasn't so much religion, but more life. Or as William Blake called it, " the body or God...and the existence of humanity ", as one...God again walking in the midst of his creation. Man and God, walking and talking as friends.I wonder?