Thursday, May 22, 2008

what does it mean?

"When we are able to say that a human is both mortal and eternal at the same time' and 'light is both a wave and a particle,' science and religion have begun to speak the same language, that of paradox." ~M. Scott Peck, The Road Less Traveled

"We have been looking for the burning bush, the parting of the sea, the bellowing voice from heaven. Instead we should be looking at the ordinary day-to-day events in our lives for evidence of the miraculous." ~M. Scott Peck, The Road Less Traveled

Here are some quotes from Scott Peck, the man I consider more than anyone on earth my "guru" or spiritual teacher. (Ironically he said, "I've gone to great lengths not to be a guru. I think the notion of guruhood is utterly pathological, and I couldn't live that way. I am just a person.") However he is simply the most connected person to Truth I have ever read (other than Jesus) :) He is a scientist, a firm believer in empiricism and its importance. Yet he is also deeply spiritual, a Christian, and yet a non-fundamentalist one. (By non-fundamentalist, I mean he opposes "simplism" or simple minded thinking. Life is not simple. Life is complex. Life is difficult. And there are many paradoxes, or apparent paradoxes associated with life. There are no simple answers. There is no black and white. There are no hard and fast rules, including the one that there are "no" hard and fast rules. I think he says there is one. I can't remember off the top of my head what it is. Christianity is rife with paradox, and this makes it attacked by its opponents. But therein lies its very beauty, for those who look beyond the simple answers. A man who was both 100% human and 100% divine, for example. That we're saved by faith alone, and yet faith without works is dead. There are hundreds of others).

In an interview for Psychology Today, he says this, relating to coincidences and such as they relate to God's answering our prayers:

"I am really an empiricist, a believer in the importance of experience. I've had all kinds of experiences with God in terms of revelation through a still, small voice or dreams or coincidences. Hundreds of them. Once, a secular Jewish woman wrote a negative review of me in The New York Times, ending it with the comment that unfortunately, most of us don't have a direct phone line to God. I wrote her back and said, "You know, please don't think that my phone works very well. A lot of times I can't get ahold of God, and sometimes the phone rings and I forget to answer. So I suspect there are a lot of people who deliberately leave the phone off the hook because they have these same experiences and they just don't recognize them as the miracles that they are."

He was quoted as saying this about the stages of faith development and this will be part of my book that I'm writing:

"Are you familiar with James Fowler? He's the expert on the stages of faith development. I simplify them a bit. Jim's theory has six stages; mine has four. The fundamental stage, one I call "chaotic antisocial," is a stage of absent spirituality. The second stage is "formal institutional," in which the fundamentalists fall. Stage three I call "skeptic individual," where religion is either thrown out or seriously doubted. And then there is stage four, which I call "mystical communal." To get from stage two to stage four—if you can in a lifetime—you must go through stage three. You have to go through a phase of doubting. One of the great sins of the Christian church is the discouragement of doubting. There's a limit to doubting. If you become really good at stage-three doubting, you begin to doubt your own doubts. And that's when you begin to move to stage four."

Those writings about the stages of psycho-spiritual development could truly revolutionize our understanding of the culture wars if taken seriously. They are profound, and incredibly accurate - Not black-and-white without exceptions and not without movement back and forth between them, but as a general guideline for understanding these things - it blows me away.

Here is also what PT said (in italics), and his response:

PT: There's some irony here. They flock to you because of your spirituality, and then spurn you for the same reasons. Another irony is that your books sell well in the Bible Belt. And yet, you are down on fundamentalism, and the fundamentalist Christians are very down on you.
SP: "They picketed me twice some years ago as me being the Antichrist. Not an antichrist, but the Antichrist. That's power."

He's got several other cool quotes on "coincidences" in his books (I have all of them) that I'll quote when I get time.

In other news, I gave a talk at my kids' school today on my shark diving and the Discovery Channel blog. I love those kids, and it is so cool to show them what I do, and get them psyched about it. I may be giving more talks on a regular basis next year. We'll see. The kids are now out for the summer, a couple weeks earlier than the public schools.

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