Stories move people more than reason
because they transport us right into the living context.
The Jewish and Christian scriptures are full of stories
that bring God into the richness/messiness of life.
Meister Eckhart knew that stories promote understanding
more than logic, and he defined ‘understanding’
as ‘deiformity’ – conformity to the mind of God –
when we rightly understand how the world works
we are drawn into/formed in the mystery of God.
There have been many misunderstandings in Christian history –
Saint Paul has been grossly misunderstood
In all this he did not betray Jesus or invent Christianity.
What he did was: challenge Jews to new ways of thinking
and confront Roman patriarchal theology by proclaiming
Jesus not Caesar is Lord.
More misunderstandings: some theologians think
the doctrine of original sin is optimistic –
it does not teach humans are evil by nature
but that evil in humans is unnatural/a disorder/a sin.
If evil were natural to humans
we would be perfectly happy in evil
but evil people are not happy
or if they are, it is not natural.
Misunderstandings caused his fellow monks
to treat Saint John of the Cross harshly.
After eight long months in prison/a dark closet
and constant beatings by other monks
he escaped in 1585 and wrote his spiritual classic
Ascent of Mount Carmel.
Misunderstanding Bible verses such as
“Be perfect as God is perfect”
results in perfectionism/fear/legalism/hypocrisy
but the context is: God exhorting us to love everyone
just as “God makes the sun rise and the rain fall
on the good and the evil” (Matthew 5:45-48).
Perfection therefore consists in
unconditional love not moral flawlessness.