Beyond Belief –
I read a book about 2 years ago, the title being Beyond Belief (Elaine Pagels) (an excellent book that I highly recommend) It is the title that is so engaging. Beyond belief. We can’t go there. Or can we? What a fascinating idea, to go beyond belief, challenging, scary, provocative. So maybe that’s where we go after This I Believe.
What’s it like beyond belief? Who am I beyond my beliefs? How am I supposed to function, react, what do I say, what do I think? What happens to my identity? How do I know what’s right and wrong? Do I dare venture into this unknown place? Is it SAFE? How do I trust it? Beliefs are defining ideas, behaviors, customs, ways of facing life that guide us and nurture us or destroy us as we journey through life. They can be generous or greedy, loving or hateful, open or narrow, informed or ignorant. When beliefs become the ultimate power in our lives, they become dangerous, dogmatic. In Christianity we have this concept called idolatry. When something takes over and runs our lives, it becomes our god and we lose the ability to see life as it is. We sell out to this idol, whatever it may be. An idea, a life style, an ideology, a religion, a thing like money, a house, car, status, an activity like sex or race cars. You can name your own gods, go ahead, name them. We all do this. It is something that we cannot escape. What we can do it recognize it and make a choice. Is this how I want to live? Am I really that right in my ways? Is being right more important than just being? Who am I snoofing out, ignoring, leaving out, hating, belittling, demeaning, marginalizing, destroying when I make my belief something more than that it is. Just a belief. There is no ultimate power in a belief. So now, what about this beyond belief? What is it like to live there? Do I have to get rid of my beliefs? No, that is impossible. Then what? What do you want, beyond belief? What are you asking of me? What is this new adventure beyond beliefs where your belief and my belief can listen to each other , learn from each other, not judge each other but share in the woven cloth of the ideas, foods, clothing, rituals, prayers, statements, concerns? Do we dare talk about what we love, the fears we have, the joys we have, the community we so crave every day? If my belief does not head me into a deeper relationship with you then maybe I better get rid of it and look for that mysterious power of getting along with you. What would that be like? How do I do that? Do I dare to be drawn into that kind of otherness that Rumi talks about, ”Out beyond ideas of wrong doing and right doing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there. Where the soul lies down in the grass, the world is too full to talk about. Ideas, language even the phrase “each other” doesn’t make sense”. Let’s all meet there, in this field.
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