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Thursday, July 18, 2019

Sacred Space, Revisited

In the previous post of the same name ( a good three, almost three & a half years ago ), my readers may recall that I came to the conclusion that we ARE the Temple, 'a traveling 'Sacred Space' if you will. My conclusion remains the same as it was those few years ago, though it should be noted that my understanding has expanded! We ARE the Temple, yes, but maybe not in the sense one might get from reading the Holy Bible, which is, after all, merely the West's translation of an Ancient Near Eastern text. Having been there before, we will explore this avenue no further, except to quote a ( fictional ) wise man, who once said, 'I do not think it means what you think it means'!

The apostle Paul, according to the Greek Scriptures ( AKA, 'New Testament' ) quoted a Universal Truth when he wrote, 'your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit'. In the context of his writing, of course, he referred to the fact that, as opposed to the Judaistic notion that their Temple ( built by the hand of Man ) was the Dwelling of 'God' on Earth, they themselves were that Glorious Dwelling! 'As above, so below': Paul's statement is true enough, but not in the sense, maybe, that many Christians understand it! Our biological bodies ARE the Temple of what most Christians call 'the Holy Spirit', though not for the reasons we have been taught; we are not the Temple because we 'invited Jesus into our heart' ( ? ), not because we were adopted into the 'Family of God', but because as spirit beings, we are part & parcel with the Source of ALL Life. Call it 'Divine Energy', call It what you will, 'It is what It is', whether we, as human beings ( personally speaking ) choose to manifest that Divinity to the outside world or not, We are, at heart, in our inmost being, ALL Divine & so Temples!

'The Hebrew & Greek ( Aramaic ) Scriptures were NOT written to us!' There; I said it ( again )! I will say it till I'm blue in the face if I hafta ( though I'm pretty much over all that )! The understanding ( of said Scriptures ) that's been handed down to us is therefore clearly a false one. It is more clear to some than to others that the current understanding of the Majority is in dire need of revision, but as the case may be, even in the case of most 'fulfilled believers' ( preterists ), the fact that our whole theology ( as Christians ) is based on a misconception, argues, even screams for a new Reformation. The Hebrew Scriptures, to begin with, although they too hold some Universal Truth, were primarily, if not wholly, written to & for an Ancient Near Eastern ( peculiar-Exodus 19:6 ) people. 'As above, so below'; these Scriptures, which we as Christians call OUR 'Holy Bible', DO have the effect of transmitting to us some Universal Truth, though great care must be exercised in divining what is Universal Truth & what was meant for the Hebrew people alone!

'Any theologian worth his salt knows the difference between the Law given on Sinai & the so-called 'cleanliness laws' ( 603? ). Okay, that was said kinda 'tongue-in-cheek'! The so-called 'Ten Commandments', that many Christians are ready to 'throw down' about if their freedom of display ( courthouses, parks, etc ) is threatened, are actually part & parcel with the 'cleanliness laws' ( all part of the so-called 'Mosaic Law', or 'Law of Moses' ). The 'cleanliness laws' ( 603? ) can even be seen to hold some Universal Truth! For instance, EVERYBODY ( well, those in their right mind, anyway ) knows that 'bacon makes everything better'! Most of us know, though we try to ignore it, that just like the 'Mosaic Law' says, it's actually not all that good for us, if at all! Muslims & Jews, whether they realize this fact,  or just 'blindly' obey the 'law', ( for the most part, anyway ) follow this instruction to the letter & thus are probably somewhat healthier than many Americans! I love bacon myself & will most likely continue to consume this 'unclean' meat, not because I believe, as most Christian do, that 'What God has [f]cleansed you must not call common' ( Acts 10:15 ). I used to believe, even teach this ), but because I ( personally ) DO love it, though in limited quantities.

Getting back to the subject at hand, just as the 'Ten Commandments' ( even the so-called 'cleanliness laws' ) hold Universal Truth, so we, as modern Americans, may divine ( 'glean'? ) Universal Truth from both the Hebrew & Greek ( Aramaic ) Scriptures. Again, when the apostle Paul wrote the words quoted earlier, we should note that our ( biological ) bodies are indeed a Temple ( in fact, as much as I hate to say it, we probably SHOULD cut way back on our consumption of bacon, if not cut it out of our diets completely ). This means that much of our practices bear revision! As Christians ( in particular ), though, we NEED ( desperately ) to understand this, not because we are in some Covenant with YHWH ( the 'God' of the Hebrews ), but simply ( Divinely ) because these ARE Universal Truths & as that 'traveling 'Sacred Space', our bodies are the vehicles in which we present 'God' to the world!

It is interesting to note, in conclusion, that even in that first post ( Sacred Space ), over three years ago, it's clear that I was headed in the same direction as I am now! 'As above, so below'; in that sense, I have not abandoned my Christian faith ( although certain aspects of it have definitely 'gone by the way-side' ); I have simply followed its logical conclusions & progressed beyond Christianity! 'So, one might ask then, 'is it correct to refer to our biological bodies as Temples, since the apostle was referring to the misconception of the Jews?' To this I would respond with a resounding 'YES'! What is a temple but the place where 'Heaven' meets 'Earth', the 'Sacred Space' where ( a ) 'God' dwells?!

Charles Haddon Shank

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