Spiritually Counselling Ichthus

Hi Ichtus,

Yes, that is a common explanation, but there are others. When someone calls him “Good Master” and asks what “good thing” he should do to have eternal life. Jesus questions the use of the word, which in Greek associates with the term “beneficial”, and he is goading him to think about what he has asked. Is “good” only that which is beneficial to me or others? Is it a kind of barter trade – good things for eternal life? I believe that, despite what many Christians will recite about works and grace, their minds haven’t really overcome this frame of thinking and that their use of the word “good” needs to be revised. Jesus points to a different perspective: “Enter life!” he says, don’t try to earn it – live it!

I would suggest that you need to know yourself because you are trying to suppress something that is (Rom 7:23) “… another law in my members having warred against the law of my mind, and taking me captive by the law of sin being in my members.” It is always there, you just have to learn to live with it like a recovering addict.

That is a very symbolic, but completely ineffective approach that helps nobody really. If you don’t understand the way your body often governs your thoughts, you will stumble over and over again. I know Christians who become depressive just because they have some malevolent thought, questioning whether they really have been saved. The ego is sometimes like the immune system in your body and it can overreact like the body does with allergic reactions. It isn’t completely a malfunction but it is an overreaction that causes damage and the only person who can learn to control it is you. Faith plays a large role because it helps us hear the words, “Fear not!” and relax.

But it isn’t something that we can do passively; we need to actively get to know what is going on inside us, how we have been conditioned and what pet illusions we contribute to. That is the value of the “Chamber Experience” in which we quietly meditate over the Lords Prayer and leave a lot of room for listening. We listen to those crazy thoughts jumping about, returning back to the prayer every time we notice that we have gone off at a tangent. We come to learn how to watch our thoughts just pass by, how to struggle less and we periodically bring those words of Jesus into our mind. After about 45 minutes we can re-enter the world that has been there all the time in the background, but which hasn’t disturbed us.

Resentment is probably one of the more powerful, even if subtle, spiritual poisons that prevent spiritual development. What you have described here is the opposite of loving our neighbours and comes about through avoiding knowing ourselves. This is, however, not unusual amongst Christians who have been taught to cling to their emotional imaginations about Jesus or God, unknowingly achieving the opposite to what would be good for them.

The question is:
Is genocide appropriate? – No!
Was the torture of that 17-year-old appropriate? – No!
Is selling people as sex slaves appropriate? – No!

Just save the rest. You don’t have to bring it into a dualistic rhetoric. The question goes from there to, “Why did it then happen?”

Genocide happens because a fear of some national, racial, political, or cultural group is allowed to rule our behaviour. The question is, whether we work against such fear before it becomes that powerful, or whether sometimes we see animosity towards some national, racial, political, or cultural group as sometimes appropriate – and hazard the chances of it turning into genocide.

People inflict excruciating pain on others as punishment or revenge, as a means of getting a confession or information – or for sheer cruelty. The question is whether we work against such behaviour before it comes to torture, or whether we accept that in certain circumstances it can be warranted. Do we work against cruelty, or are we sometimes cruel in situations when we have lost control?

Women, children and men are forced to prostitute themselves because it is their only means of earning money. The question is what we do to ensure that these people have an alternative way of getting through life, and why are there so many people willing to buy their services? In how many other instances do we or others offer or devote our talents to an unworthy use or cause, because we feel we have to?

What is “Gods love through us”? What is a “mere moral improvement”? Is a moral improvement not what you are trying to achieve with your morality (good and bad)? In what way do you know that God has loved “through you”, and that it is not just a projection of anything beneficial onto your idea of God?

Shalom

[This is a recording, please stay on the line; do not hang up.] Thank you TheStumps, alyoshka, Xunzian, Bob, and Uccisore for participating in this chapter of the book discussion. All are invited to continue discussion of the chapter, but this reply concludes my participation in this chapter, as I must now turn my attention to the remaining chapters of the discussion. Thanks again.

I don’t have time to read this whole thread, but did skim it, and these are the answers I was looking for… the ones referred to in the chapter two thread:

– Bob

That is the same as saying genocide, torture, and sexual slavery is evil.

The dualistic rhetoric is your own, as I do not even believe good-evil is a duality (evil is not the opposite of good, but the absence or privation of good… good messed up) – observe your dualistic words in chapter two’s discussion:

– Bob

Refer to chapter two’s thread for how I answered that.

[This is a recording, please stay on the line; do not hang up.] Thank you TheStumps, alyoshka, Xunzian, Bob, and Uccisore for participating in this chapter of the book discussion. All are invited to continue discussion of the chapter, but this reply concludes my participation in this chapter, as I must now turn my attention to the remaining chapters of the discussion. Thanks again.

Dear Reader,
here we have an example of the greatest problems Christians have today: Superficiality.

Suppose we were to go through life with the same attitude, looking up the answers we want, ignoring everything else that was said, dashing off from one subject to another, implying that we have no time for in depth study. Can anything beneficial come of it? Of course the question is rhetorical and we all know the answers, but it is deeply saddening to see people actual fall for such an illusion, clinging to their vision like a child to a teddy-bear in a stormy night.

It is because of this that Christianity has been ridiculed and shown up to be nothing but a circus - although the message in the Bible is in fact divine wisdom. There is redemption there, there is hope and vision, there is guidance and a Way to life, but alas, the gate is narrow and is rarely found, and the path is not broad but constricted. The hindrances of a spiritual life and cause of superficiality, which are sensual desire, resentment and ill will, laziness and apathy, restlessness and anxiety as well as doubt, all cloud our ability to see clearly, and are much of what we find hindering Christianity in its world wide witness.

Christians often offer classical psychological behaviour whilst being oblivious of the fact and even opposed to psychology or meditation which could help them see these things.

Any thoughts?

Shalom

Hi Bob,
It seems the biggest problem Christianity has is the people that represent it. I don’t mean all, but a fair portion. It is very possible I contribute to some of those characteristics. Just being human is somewhat a detriment for that faith. This is partially due to people not reflecting upon their involvement in Christianity. Often times people are reactionary to their emotions which negates to some extent what is being perceived by others as “is that what a Christian is?” Thus weakening the position of that faith.

Some of this is attributable to those people not realizing and learning from impious actions. It’s important for prayer to help correct those inquities. Healing of the spirit is as important as the healing of the body. Study of God’s Word and prayer helps people keep a close connection to God.

O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?

Is there something wrong Felix?

I was just running with your “Just being human is somewhat a detriment for that faith.”

Hahahahaha!!!
That is exactly how we DO go through life! Limiting ‘incomming information’ is our basic nature; we are Perspective (and all unique!).

– Bob

With all due respect, Bob, I think the reason you are saying that is because you took the ‘porn addict’ section of my last reply in the chapter two [edit: three] thread as my implying I used to have a porn habit (the OT as a narrative thing was just an example if anyone reading my post needed one for their own use), and you wanted to exploit a weakness. That doesn’t mean I am not a weak addict–I think that when we do things we know we shouldn’t (and I do), it shows we are addicted to those things, and all humans (besides Jesus) have those things–my thing(s) just isn’t (aren’t) porn (not that I never looked at porn–which is why I know its effect on the mind). A lot of the things you said, I agree with (at least partially), some of it, I don’t, but I just do not have time to go into it in a whole 'nother thread (this one). I didn’t mean you should post your answers in a whole new thread–I meant post them in an active one that I am actively participating in–I apologize for the misunderstadning. I must stay focused, for lack of time.

I think self-examination is highly important, and you hit a nerve labelling me superficial. The title of this thread is very telling. I mean, if this was about counselling, about my being a client/friend or whatever and you trying to help me sort things out or whatever–do you think maybe I should choose you as a counsellor, not you choose me to counsel? Do you think if I wanted to seek out a different counsellor, that your reaction would’ve been appropriate–to call me superficial? Is this not character defamation? Is this not ad hominem? Is this not you not being willing to admit you are wrong about my last post in this thread, and grow your understanding of the way things really are in that aspect? What would that say about the counsellor–if that was how they handled initiation and conclusion? Perhaps we do not share the same definition of ‘mindfulness’?

This is not conducive to a fruitful discussion. I respectfully request that you reconsider the way you have chosen to relate with me. We can explore the truth without attacking character. You can explore my character (or overcoming addiction, what all it implies about Christ’s love for us, etcetera) all you want, but in an active (relevant) thread, please.

Felix dakat… Paul is awesome. Naked honesty.

No, Ichthus, although I picked up your reference to addiction, I was not implying that your example was true to you, and if I had thought that, I wouldn’t have used it to “exploit” you. But in some ways sin is a little like an addiction, at other times it may allude to a different experience, but the way that Paul describes sin “in my limbs” alludes to addiction. Another way is to put it the way Buddhists do, saying that we “cling” to desires and so cause suffering.

Really I have done something here that is often pertinent, I have taken your “name” and, because it is a symbol that is widely used, I addressed the “fair portion” (Liteninbolt) of Christians who behave in the same manner. That is, you are only representative for many, but I appreciate you saying that it was a fair diagnosis.

It is not character defamation when the client agrees that the diagnosis is correct. It is particularly not defamation if I am addressing a whole group of people, saying that this attribute is common to all. It is above all not defamatory if it occurs in a discussion thread that offers to discuss this particular trait that weakens (in my opinion) the strength of a message and even perverts that message to a certain degree.

My intention here is to show that there is another way we can discuss good and evil (the original subject) that really hits the subject on the head and gets away from the eternal moral discussions that never stop, but which continually flare up over and over again. This is what causes people to ridicule the thousands of protestant sects that all have one common trait: They have some bone of contention with the other sects.

For me the issue can be taken back to Christ and we can ask ourselves what he meant when he said (Mat 5:38-42):
(38) You have heard that it was said: “An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth;”
(39) but I say to you, Do not resist the evil; but whoever strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other to him also.
(40) And to him desiring to sue you, and to take your tunic, allow him also to have the coat.
(41) And whoever shall compel you to go one mile, go two with him.
(42) He asking you to give, and he wishing to borrow from you, do not turn away.

Is this not the ultimate challenge to the kind of morality that you (with others) suggest?

Shalom

PS: Liteninbolt and others - I’ll be back

Hi Liteninbolt,

I think you know that we agree in what you are saying, the question is whether those representatives know what they are doing and whether there is an alternative course of action that would no longer weaken the position of Christianity in the world. If we simply turn away and say that we are all not perfect and forgiveness is called for, we will not have addressed the problem appropriately. The biggest problem in my mind is that Christians are regularly seen in the Pharisee position, opposing Christ with “an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth” or “love your neighbour and hate your enemy”, whilst all the time claiming to follow Christ, not the Pharisees. This is only possible if people are as pedantic as the Pharisees are portrayed to be about choice issues but superficial with regard to the rest.

Failing to address issues other than those choice issues, using morality as the choice method, overlooks the fact that according to the Gospels, Jesus had a very different position and very different methods. His was a non-dual method, symbolised by the “light in the darkness”, banishing darkness by his very presence. In all issues we should ignore the darkness and shine our light, and not attempt to resolve issues with “an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth” or “love your neighbour and hate your enemy”, which is the attempt to battle darkness with darkness and hide our light “under a grain measure”. This can only happen if we believe Christ when he says, “You are the light of the world!”

Luk 11:35-36
(35) Watch, then, that the light in you is not darkness.
(36) If, then, your whole body is light, not having any part dark, all will be light, as when the lamp enlightens you with its shining.

Shalom

I need spiritual counseling I think.

Stay around, there’s enough for us all … :wink:

Shalom

Hi Bob,

Jesus had (has) an intervening premise between God and man, between long held beliefs and a new source for salvation. He was born without sin, lived amongst it and yet did not sin Himself. Plus, He held no allegiance to material things, heads of state or particular country. His Will was God’s Will. It makes sense that He during His life on earth would ‘be a light in the darkness’.

Here are some corroborating scriptures to that affect:
John 8:12 (KJV)
Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.

John 9:1-7 (KJV)
And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth. 2 And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? 3 Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him. 4 I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work. 5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world. 6 When he had thus spoken, he spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay, 7 And said unto him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam, (which is by interpretation, Sent.) He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing.

John 12:34-36 (KJV)
The people answered him, We have heard out of the law that Christ abideth for ever: and how sayest thou, The Son of man must be lifted up? who is this Son of man? 35 Then Jesus said unto them, Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you: for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth. 36 While ye have light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light. These things spake Jesus, and departed, and did hide himself from them.

John 12:44-46 (KJV)
Jesus cried and said, He that believeth on me, believeth not on me, but on him that sent me. 45 And he that seeth me seeth him that sent me. 46 I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness.

Hopefully all Christians would aspire to follow directly in the footsteps of Christ. I am guilty as the next in not doing so whole heartedly. I admit it…I am not happy about it…I am a sinner and am weak in a lot of respects. Fortunately, Jesus is the redemptive factor that keeps our eye on the light. He is a beacon in this world of darkness so Chritians may spread His Word for others to see.

Hi Lieteninbolt,

Yes, I appreciate what you are saying, but what would be important is the differentiation between statements that have theological or liturgical importance and those things that offer guidance for our lives. The danger is that we could fall foul of the same trap that the Pharisees fell into, splitting hairs over theological subtleties and forgetting to existentially help people .

What is lacking here is an important detail – how does someone “following” Christ attain the “light of life”? However, it does run along with my last post and it does offer us a perspective for proceeding. It also shows that the one following Christ will not even “walk in darkness”, let alone promote darkness.

This is one of my favourite stories of John, which points out that those who claim to see are blinder than anyone else because they can’t even distinguish the fact that light has come into the world. It also does away with the idea that sin was the cause of the ailment (the kind of moral argument often made in such cases) and records Jesus simply as bringing light into the man’s life.

This is another quote showing that Jesus calls his followers to be “children of the light”, and that the light he had brought would waver. It is then important that the “children of the light” proceed to spread that light so that they can overcome the darkness.

The same as John 8:12

Unfortunately, redemption doesn’t solve all of our questions because there is the story of the talents and the one who buries his talent doesn’t get off too well. But, we are called to become children of light, bringing the light of Jesus into all situations where we are able. This requires us to orientate ourselves on that light, and look for that light – even in our neighbours and enemies, and ignore the darkness, which cannot overcome the light, even if they snuff us out. This is the calling we have and all else is ornamental art.

Shalom