"The scriptures are a gift for our use, not a book of laws or obligations to be endlessly dissected, as if they were, in themselves, the goal. In this operation 'the letter kills.' The bible is not the way - it is an arrow pointing to the one who is the way. It is a guide book to another country; the promised land - one that we are freely invited to live in. There, we put the written text back in its place (using it, at will, to serve us - not the other way around) and the living word, Jesus, becomes the one detail we forever (willingly) pour over."
Friend, I am in much agreement with your general sentiment. I am not here to argue but to learn, as part of my spiritual education both now and Hereafter, why it is that others, who are clearly passionate and dedicated, think and feel the way they do, and I truly feel for many because instilled fear and past theological damage is a dreadful thing to heal from.
What I have been learning since the nineties newsgroups, is that many follow the letter, yet use the letter to follow the Spirit, as you say
not the other way around
and by the 'letter', I refer to the mental permutations created from letters, words and phrases, and understand what you are referring to when you say
In this operation 'the letter kills.'
I have been taught that Christ is simple. For me, my Guide and Measure is Jesus the Christ. The Holy Spirit, external to the Bible, has literally taught me about the Christ Jesus recorded in the Bible - and once the genie is out of the bottle, there is no return.
As I see and feel it, Jesus the Christ was the greatest and most potent demonstration or portrayal of what the Supreme God is like, available to a human being: Christ the Man on Earth, was as much of the Absolute that humanity could, and can, take in - Perfection, Divine Love in the flesh. He literally came to be judged by man in His humility, representing the God to whom man owes his very existence - God the Great Parent. When He said that He and the Father were One, He was also asking for humanity to look at Him and judge Him and ask itself if its God is worthy of following.
In my opinion, the Holy Spirit has explained to me in great measure Christ's love; and has in a measure explained the nature and means of spiritual revelation both that found in the Bible and outside of it, and why the Bible is so charged with such beauty and Spirit; and also explained why my understanding of Jesus Christ seems so beautiful when the Jesus given to the world by many naming themselves Christians falls short of it..."Yes, I agree...but the Bible says..."
God is Love. Jesus is my Guide. The Holy Spirit can teach about Jesus - not my own words, mind and understanding - but the Holy Spirit teaches, speaks.
Christ is recorded as saying that everyone who is requesting is obtaining and who is seeking is finding, and while others are finding what they are looking for, I am seeking and I finding what I have been looking for - certainly not over night, yet He did say that the Spirit of Truth will guide into all the truth - and that the Holy Spirit will speak.
When I hear some of the things attributed to Love, God, Christ, by so many, I not only cringe but sometimes it feels as if someone is purposefully piercing me inside, it is a genuine pain, in my opinion.
I believe, and have no doubt personally, that there is further development for all genuine followers of Christ, each individually, once this physical life is over. This I see as aionios zoe
- age-lasting life
being for the wicked] until all notions of elitism are worked out, all learnt beliefs of somehow being spiritually fit to "judge the world" or whatever the idea is that is harbouring itself in the recesses of the soul, have been replaced with the humility so clearly demonstrated by the Master Christ in the Sacred Record.
The Father gathers us in. The past abates; the yesterdays which have gone are augmented by the present; and what is to come is charged with capacity and potential for eternal life. Glory to God on High.
Peace in understanding.