Discover more from Mysticism 2020 (formerly Christianity 2020)
Christian Mysticism, Part 3
It’s almost always a bad idea to have really long quotations in a blog post, but I have to make an exception in the following case. Below is a paragraph that — in my opinion — completely describes how mystical Christianity has been lost to almost everyone, especially Protestants. Here, Alan Wats describes the deeper message of Christianity as
“like a nut – a shell containing hidden fruit, a hard, concrete symbol embracing a spiritual truth. To extract the truth the nut must be broken – with reverence and respect, because without the shell’s protection the fruit would never have grown. The task of Protestantism was to break the shell, though because the Protestants did not fully realize this and did not know about the fruit inside, the job has been inexpertly and irreverently done. They have hammered away with gusto; they have cracked the entire surface; they have taken whole chunks of the shell right off, and, having thrown some of them away, have taken the rest into a corner and there tried to piece them together in a different form. But the fruit has not interested them. Protestantism has simply broken up the system of symbolism, reduced it and re-formed it, and, in these later times, has practically discarded the whole thing. The time has come for us to attend to the long-neglected fruit.”
Alan Watts, Behold the Spirit
Fundamentalist leaders know intuitively that religion is much more powerful than philosophy, and they make use of this fact every day in their national broadcasts. They fulfill a need, however poorly. Others flock to various concepts under the banner of “neo-evolution” or “integral beliefs” or say that they are “spiritual but not religious” — all of this is very sad, since the answer is and has been under our noses the whole time.
“If a blind man guides a blind man, both will fall into a pit.”
By thinking that we have exhausted the substance of Christianity simply because almost no one teaches it the right way is truly a sin. There is a great deal of spiritual power in Christianity if we open ourselves to it. If we think even for a moment that we should discard two millennia of spiritual inspiration because we didn’t like our childhood priest or minister, we run the risk of throwing out the baby with the holy water.
“The mystic must either go his own way and leave theology alone, or else he must be forever wrestling with the adaptation of experience to theology and theology to experience, forever tempering his language with caution and taking care not to be a heretic.”
Alan Watts, Behold The Spirit
Also see: Are you a heretic?