Brian’s Reflection: Tuesday, February 8, 2011
A person cannot approach the divine by
reaching beyond the human. To become
human is what this individual person has
been created for.
All journeys have secret destinations
of which the traveler is unaware.
Martin Buber, Jewish religious philosopher,
born in Germany on this date, 1878
What a freeing blessing to hear these words from Buber!! Think about all we have been told in 2000 years about “becoming like Jesus”. But in the heart. all humans have heard these words with dread or sadness or disappointment. We can’t become like Jesus! Given the machinations of the 4th C church which made Jesus “God”, there was no way that we humans could “approach the divine”. We were being bullied into being something other than Human in order to “approach the Divine” ….. and it can’t be done.
There is only one way to “approach the divine” ….. and that is to “become human”. Fully human. Aye, there’s the “rub”; it begs the Great Question for which all the great religious paths have been created by human beings. And that is: “What is a fully Human Person?” What are the qualities of such a person? Who shall we believe from among those who propose to tell us What we are meant to be and How we shall get there?
I agree with Buber. First and foremost, we must be Human. And that means that is nothing we can reject of what we have found to be part of our human experience ….. including sin, mortality, frailty. Buber said of sin: “For sin is just this, what man cannot by its very nature do with his whole being.” Correct. BUT. That begs a Question as well: What IS the “whole being” of a person?? By what criterion is “whole being” defined?
Christian “theology” would say that to be a “whole being”, we must be transformed into the “Christ Consciousness”. (Well, this is what non-literalist, non-dualist Christian theologians would say! More on this in later Reflections.) We must, as St. Paul says, “Put on the mind of Christ”. We must become fully Human. Human is what we are ….. and we are not called to anything that excludes being fully Human. Needless to say, “fully Human” and “One with God” are NOT contradictory!
One thing that holds us back from evolving into the fullness of Humanity is that we arrogantly, ignorantly, think we know where the Journey is leading. Believe me, we don’t ….. and it is a killing thing to think we do. All the great teachers/rabbis (including Jesus) tell us this. “God” is the Journey’s End ….. and they all tell us in some form that “no one can know God”. So, all of us travelers must honour and cherish the unaware “secret destinations”. We must believe in them, open to them, accept them as an integral part of the Journey to being Human.
I reiterate: we cannot be more than Human! To be completely Human is our destiny.
But. We must learn never to diminish, to demean, to underestimate being Human. When the Psalmist says that we are “only a little lower than the angels”, she did not know by half what that makes us!
Friends, let us train our inner sight on the “secret destinations”.