Coded white.

Sunday 9 April 2006

Screenshot anime Boys Be...

Pic of the day: ...the removal of wall after wall... One of my favorite pictures, it explains my spirituality better than the thousand words. Not that you won't get both, as usual.

Bel in Babylon

One of my favorite songs is one I learned among "Smith's Friends" (now officially named "The Christian Church"), a group of Christian mystics and their followers and descendants and descendants of the followers and followers of the descendants. I am not exaggerating, much as I'd love to. Still, they're good people. Anyway! Back when there were more of the original mystics alive, they occasionally sang a song based on the apocryphal story about Daniel in Babylon and the idol Bel.

Cyrus the king worshiped Bel (a dragon, in the song, though I can't find that in my translation of the apocryphal books*) and tried to make Daniel do the same. As proof he pointed out the large amounts of offerings, food and wine, that disappeared from the locked temple room each night. What other explanation than that the god had eaten it? But Daniel laughed and promised to show the king where the food had gone. The next evening, before the guards locked the doors, Daniel spread a thin layer of ash on the temple floor, then left. In the morning early he brought the king to the room as the doors were opened. Human footsteps, lots of them, went between the stand of offerings and a secret door under the table. The entrance led to the quarters of the priests. The king was not amused.

"Now the dragon in Babylon has long since turned to dust,
and its priest no more need any food,
you would think the world from this kind of nonsense was freed;
but it still lives on under the name God's Cause.

"Large houses, lots of money, is today God's great Cause;
Jesus here in the world needed just a bit.
Perhaps Bel is still in the game? We shall have to see one day,
Daniel's searchlight should make a visit."

***

Up to the time I parted company, Smith's Friends never paid anyone for preaching the Gospel. They would cover traveling expenses and such and give you food, if they thought you deserved it, but that's it. Not because a worker is not worth his pay, but because they were convinced that very few people even good people can resist the temptation to please those who pay them. And not least because paid clergy will want to get a monopoly. If everyone could preach the Gospel, then they would be like a well in a flooded land. This was so among the Friends: During the meetings, anyone who had a revelation could share it, whether it was explaining some passage in the Bible, relating how to overcome some temptation or deceit in life, or simply a song that had come alive to them.

They have become organized more like a church now, but there is still much left of what was. Someone should document it while it still exists, before full night falls. But I cannot get myself to spy on them. They were my friends, after all. And it was among them that I was baptized to the Death of Christ, although neither I nor they knew what it would mean for me. The death of conformity, the end of one illusion after another, the removal of wall after wall until I stand naked under a sky so high that I dwindle to a speck and disappear.

(Although I don't plan on disappearing from here any day soon, if it's up to me. I'm just very slowly becoming smaller and smaller, I think.)

***

Anyway, back to the point. The point is that clergy is blasphemy, or that's how it looks to the mystic. God is everywhere. There is no need for a caste of men who run shuttle between you and God ... there is nothing between you and God. Not a chasm and not a bridge, not a wall and not a door. God is closer than the food that you eat, the water that you drink or the air that you breathe. Closer even than the thoughts of your mind; for when the thoughts fall silent, God remains.

Don't get me wrong, the clergy is a great social institution. But it is contrary to true religion. The prophet is not in the pay of the people, but a messenger from God. When the prophet appears, it is usually with words of judgment: For if the people were not turned from God, they would not need the prophets to speak to them, but they would all have something: A prophecy or a doctrine or a tongue or an interpretation, a hymn or a spiritual song. For all can speak prophetic, but one at a time.

God in the daily life is like one of those hidden pictures in a picture. You look at it and you see only the ordinary, but then someone tells you to look just a little to the side, or focus past the picture, and suddenly the hidden motive jumps out at you. From that moment on, you can never really avoid seeing it even when you don't look for it. If someone does not want you to see the picture for yourself, they are priests of Bel and not prophets of God. The prophet of God comes to reveal the footsteps of the priests, but not until the time is ripe. Until then the priests have their time, to eat and drink what you think you have offered to a higher power.


*) In real life, the Babylonians did of course not worship a dragon. On the contrary, their chief deity Marduk was a slayer of the dragon-like Tiamat, the chaos mother. His everyday name Bel (same word as Ba'al) simply means Lord. So the food and wine were actually offerings to "the Lord". The more things change...


Yesterday <-- This month --> Tomorrow?
One year ago: Literacy site
Two years ago: Did Jesus die for Nazis?
Three years ago: Invasions then and now
Four years ago: Forgetting past evils
Five years ago: Once again 9th of April
Six years ago: Total pajamas day
Seven years ago: Infinity in concert!

Visit the archive page for the older diaries I've put out to pasture.


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