The Need for "Heresy"
After posting my piece on Am I a Christian? I found myself uneasy. Am I now a heretic? Is being a heretic a problem for me? A problem for my friends and others? Whatever the situation, I was ill at ease, as if I had gone too far.
And then, as if Spirit were in charge (I smile here, of course), I read Ross Douthat’s article The Cult Deficit in the 9/28 Sunday Review section of the New York Times. I almost laughed out loud. And I felt bathed in immediate relief – such synchronicity!
Douthat’s observation, sharing perspectives of a few others (Philip Jenkins, Peter Thiel, and Mark Lilla) is that a thriving religion needs scholars and inquirers on the edge, risking the new, risking what might be considered heretical to the mainstream of their religion, risking new thought and creativity. Without this, religions (or cultures, or companies) die in stagnation.
As I take this in I offer the following points for consideration…
1) Making a religion one’s own means individuation from the “tribe” – the individuated soul is a unique expression of the Divine, and may appear very different from the rest of the tribe.
2) Following Spirit and my Call is not the same as focusing on history and holding onto the past – we steer our spiritual lives by looking ahead, not looking in the rearview mirror.
3) Each of us is unique, and this means unique in our religious thought and being. We are called to birth our true unique selves into this world.
4) I notice how alive I feel when new ideas, like in my “Am I a Christian?” blog, click for me, as if Spirit is inspiring me. I follow this call.
5) Most orthodoxy was once heresy – Jesus Christ, Martin Luther, Calvin, …
6) Jesus modeled healthy individuation and healthy heresy, in opposition to religious structures of his day. He had to be about his Father’s business.
7) The message of Christ is the message of freedom, true religions are religions of freedom, not religions tied to orthodoxy (Link to Pathwork Lecture 88: Religion: True and False)
8] Christ also modeled how over-orthodoxy crucifies what isn’t in compliance with its orthodoxy – the life of the “heretic” is not easy – and can result in death.
Douthat speaks of charismatic revolutionaries. I am certainly NOT charismatic. But I am called to be who I am. I humbly plow onward.
Shared in love, Gary