For Carl Jung, consciousness and archetypes
underlie all religion –
religious symbols are a response
to power centers in the collective unconscious.
Jesus deserves the claim
of universal salvific significance
because he is the archetype
the paradigm, the living parable
of humanity, of God’s love for us
the human face of God’s mysterious care.
And for Jesus, no amount of
learning, authority, tradition, or sacredness
was immune to his challenges.
Even fundamental assumptions and values
like obedience to the Law
could be questioned and changed.
Catholic and Orthodox priests
made the Great Indwelling of the Holy Spirit
depend on membership and sacraments
and Protestant clergy made Spirit
depend on personal decisions.
Both tried to control
Transformation happens in ‘liminal space’
when we are in-between stages of
life, relationships, faith
when we are not in control –
transformation does not happen in our comfort zone.
William Blake, Chuang Tzu, and Zen
knew that vision and imagination
are necessary to counter
a world of rationality –
both reason and imagination are needed
for the marriage of heaven and hell.
According to Michel Foucault
the 18th to 20th century scientific Enlightenment
resulted in people becoming
“objects of information”
rather than “subjects of communication”
that is, persons became “its” with no
depth, intentionality, or personhood.
The spiritual void
in a culture of “its”
intensifies anxiety over
death, guilt, and meaninglessness –
all “existential threats of non-being.”
Pleasure and pain are inevitable
components of bodily existence.
Happiness is not all pleasure and no pain
but the ability to handle pain
and, when necessary, delay pleasure
preventing denial, blame, scapegoating and addiction.
All major religions
transform suffering into
deep connection to salvation.
Many great religious figures suffered
or ascetical purification.
But religion was never just
how to handle suffering –
along with lists of sins
there were lists of virtues.
Christians added three theological virtues:
faith, hope, and love
to Aristotle’s list
of four cardinal virtues
justice, temperance, fortitude, and prudence.
Seven cardinal virtues
counterbalanced seven cardinal sins.
And beyond positively practicing virtues
there is non-elitist “street spirituality:”
seeking out the stranger
the broken, the prisoner
were part and parcel of the biblical prophets
wisdom literature, and saints
down through the ages.
All this is the opposite
of treating persons as