Saturday, March 31, 2018

Metanoia is

One of the key words in the New Testament
is metanoia,
poorly translated as repentance
giving rise to neurotic concerns about sin
and self-reproach.

But the Greek word really means transformation,
metamorphosis.

Essentially, metanoia is a change in relationship with the universe.

The words of Jesus jolt us
 into an entirely new imagination of how the world is to work.
His actions and teachings spell out
a prophetic imagination.

What does he do?
He is outrageously forgiving and accepting.
He rids people of negativity.
He heals people of their suffering.
He teaches love rather than obligation.
He is totally inclusive.
He practices situational ethics,
bringing Love and Compassion into every experience.

This set of values is fairly simple yet totally transforming.

When religion doesn't transform us and our imagination,
then religion is getting in the way of a new vision.
If going to church doesn't shift imagination
to qualities of Love and Compassion,
then it might be better to stay home
and study Jesus’ words carefully
and then take them seriously.

Religion sometimes defends itself
against the radical nature of Jesus' message
by resorting to moral platitudes.

In that process, Jesus disappears.

Institutional religion
functions largely from the imagination of power and money.
Individually,
we know that love is most important,
but Church hierarchy as yet can't grasp this insight.
It is still profoundly narcissistic,
propping itself up with superficial values
rather than the ones that count.

Jesus shows a way out of narcissism,
which at its root is anxiety about self.

Narcissism isn't a moral problem;
it's a basic anxiety that comes with being human
and is often exacerbated by Institutional Religion.
But we have to grow out of it.

Metanoia is not only about a change of beliefs,
but a shift in the deep emotional and intellectual imagination
from which we live.
We discover and are comfortable with mystery
and with paradox.

To be secure and satisfied,
we need to love and be loved.
We need friends, family, and community.
The direction of our concern shifts from self to other.

Paradoxically,
as Jesus said,
only by loving others,
perceived enemies included,
do we find True Self.

We have to move from an unconscious obedient state
to an awake and aware one.
We can then come to see a deep meaning and order in life.

The process of Metanoia,
not necessarily religious,
is psychological, philosophical, and spiritual.



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