Sunday, August 13, 2017

Jesus Wisdom Transmission

Sunday August 20 we will meet at my office in Binghamton at 2 pm for 15 minutes of silent meditation followed by a discussion focused on several passages in the New Testament. We will particularly consider passages where Jesus makes clear that there are different teachings for different people. He says in 1 Corinthians 6 that he "speaks a message of wisdom among the mature". To what wisdom does he refer? To whom does he teach this higher level of wisdom/knowledge/understanding? How do we prepare ourselves to be a fertile ground to receive this wisdom transmission? In all of the wisdom traditions that I know something about, different teachings are provided depending on the level of consciousness of the student. Shakyamuni Buddha specifically instructs his monks to not discuss the concept of emptiness or the void with those who are not monastics. There are very good reasons for this instruction. Monastics spend full time steeped in these teachings as well as intense and continuous spiritual practice. They are somewhat prepared for such radical teachings that can immediately deconstruct one's ordinary understanding about life. Seeing the truth directly in a flash can be profoundly destabilizing for someone completely unprepared, with no background of disciplined spiritual practice and study. We see what happened to Saul when he met Jesus in a vision. His entire life was immediately  turned inside out. Teachings that are far above the heads of the listeners leads to irritation, incomprehension, and turning off. The resulting frustration could impede one's serious pursuit of more comprehensible teachings, and interfere with their spiritual growth. In today's talk we will explore the possible message that Jesus reserves for the spiritually mature. 

Another fascinating aspect of Jesus' teaching is the recognition of how completely uncomprehending his disciples are of his core teaching. This is especially true when we remember that these were men hand picked by Jesus, who spent full time with him, basking in his presence. The simple truth is that a direct, clear comprehension of this wisdom is very difficult, as Jesus repeatedly states. The crucial question is: How do we develop the ears to hear and the eyes to see?

If you are interested in attending the talk this Sunday, please RSVP as space is limited. I don't intend to stream on Facebook as we are still working out audio issues.

Below are a few of the passages we will investigate.

1 Corinthians 2:6-16

God’s Wisdom Revealed by the Spirit

We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. No, we declare God’s wisdom, a mystery that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. However, as it is written:
“What no eye has seen,
    what no ear has heard,
and what no human mind has conceived”—
    the things God has prepared for those who love him—
10 these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit.
The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. 11 For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.12 What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us.13 This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words.[ 14 The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness,and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit. 15 The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments,16 for,
“Who has known the mind of the Lord
    so as to instruct him?”
But we have the mind of Christ.

Mark 4: 9-12

Then Jesus said, “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.”
10 When he was alone, the Twelve and the others around him asked him about the parables. 11 He told them, “The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you. But to those on the outside everything is said in parables 12 so that,
“‘they may be ever seeing but never perceiving,
    and ever hearing but never understanding;
otherwise they might turn and be forgiven!’”

Matthew 13:34-35

34 Jesus spoke all these things to the crowd in parables; he did not say anything to them without using a parable. 35 So was fulfilled what was spoken through the prophet:
“I will open my mouth in parables,
    I will utter things hidden since the creation of the world.”

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