Tuesday, June 27, 2006
Wednesday, June 21, 2006
GnosCast on iTunes
GnosCast via RSS
The second episode of GnosCast: The Gnostic Podcast is available. (Don't worry, there won't be one a week.)
Episode 2 - Holy Smoke without a Filter:
- (On a) High Horse:
Our Religious Assumptions & Framework.
- Everybody Knows:
Being Agnostic to be a Gnostic.
- Building a(n Understanding of) Religion:
How the Needs of Orthodoxy Shaped our Religious Views.
- Real Spirituality:
What is I?
Friday, June 16, 2006
Psychological Maturity & Spiritual Development
Educational Resources Development:
Resources for individual use
Resources for group use
Memes & Memeplexes
Historical Gnostic Studies
Spiritual Formation Resources
Promotion of Gnostic Studies
Resources for individual spiritual growth
Resources to aid those engaged in Gnostic ministry
Thursday, June 15, 2006
Unfortunately, all of their arguments and preachments come down to the above, which is simply ego-inflation, not wanting anyone to step on the hose inflating their ego. There are dangers in hierarchies and organizations, however these are of a different nature to those of do-it-yourself religion. Any time you try to do something with more than one person, you have to organize things, give it a form and a structure. The dangers in organizations is whether the form exists to do something, to accomplish the goal, or to preserve the structure; and whether there is a clear limit on the extent of the structure's power.
For example, having a job where your boss also tries to control your personal life, is a structure that doesn't follow it's clear limits. The same is the case if you study at a university, and in addition to studies, they dictate your social life to you. These and so many other examples happen, blatantly, every day, in spite of the limits being respected in the vast majority of cases. And we are facing only the beginning of the use of the structure of the government of the USA and other countries to enforce agendas despite any attempts to limit government structure and power.
The New Prophet usually doesn't try to tear down the structure of the economy, nor rail against the education system. And, as I pointed out earlier, they show no understanding of the structures involved: why structures and forms exist, what is required to provide a form, and the real dangers that are involved. No, they preach against any religious form that is not their own—showing their true concern. The New Prophet is the founder of The First Church of the Ego: The One & Only One True Church. And being simply involved in a "me" vs "everyone else" dynamic, they have no real understanding of any of the real dynamics or dangers. And having no such understanding they will merely ape religious forms and recreate the worst possible religious scenarios.
The quote from Thomas Merton about the most dangerous man being the contemplative who is guided by no man, is true. I do not think that many of those who end up becoming leaders of manipulative and abusive organizations, colloquially called cults, set out to do so. They just follow their own impulses and those will lead them to repeat age old patterns. There is nothing original about “being me” in the sense of allowing your ego to rule unchecked. Those who are in the sway of ego-inflation are the least themselves and not at all free—they are under the control of larger patterns, patterns endlessly repeated and to which they are merely footnotes.
They think they are in charge, that this is the route to freedom, but when has freedom existed without limits, without structure? If someone is free to end my freedom, how is that freedom? Likewise, an individual who acknowledges no structure or limits on themselves will end up impinging upon the freedom of others. When they do this in society, they may end up loosing their freedom and having limits imposes upon them. When they do this in the realm of psychology, we usually call them abusers. When they do this in the realm of religion, we usually call them cult leaders.
Forms, structures, and the limits they impose provide for some degree of freedom and safety. In the cases where people are abused, it is not within the forms and limits of the organizations: it is when the individuals place themselves above such things, ignoring them and getting those they harm to ignore them.
The First Church of the Ego: The One & Only One True Church, is definitely not a Gnostic church, nor a means to Gnosis. Furthermore, it not only doesn't provide any aid, it provides an arena for the simple repetition of old and dangerous/harmful patterns. The New Prophet is not guided by others, but rather guided by the age old patterns that they are doomed to repeat.
Wednesday, June 14, 2006
GnosCast on iTunes
GnosCast via RSS
Well, finally, the first episode of GnosCast: The Gnostic Podcast is available. I take comfort from the truism that your first episode is your worst episode, and you probably will as well.
This will be the main content podcast, and will include longer addresses on various topics related to Gnosticism, philosophy, and spirituality. In the future, it will include actual lectures to audiences, instead of just me trying to figure out what to say to a microphone. In addition, more conversational elements will be included.
Producing a podcast of this length as part of a larger project was a lot more work than I anticipated. And there are odd issues, such as a lower sound quality. But, doing something and going forward are necessary for anything to happen. I hope it is of some value.
By way of advertising: I trace the origins of modern relativism, look at the history of equating beliefs with religion, and give anyone who wants it plenty of ammunition to use against me. All for free! How can you loose (more than an hour of your time you can spend commuting, or doing household chores anyway)?
- (On a) High Horse:
Rev. Troy briefly introduces himself. (yawn)
- Everybody Knows:
Being a Gnostic entails not-knowing
- Building a(n Understanding of) Religion:
Religion and Sanity.
- Real Spirituality:
Where you are on your path.
Tuesday, June 13, 2006
While this will not be the primary focus of the Institute, it is the one that is asked about most often, and so I will outline here the current plans and direction for higher education within the Institute.
What is the relationship of the Gnosis Institute to Gnostic organizations?
The Institute is not something that organizations participate in, it is something that individuals participate in. Likewise, it is not something that exists to serve the needs of organizations directly, but to serve the needs individuals regardless of whether that is through an organization or not.
What this means practically, is that the curricula of the Institute will not grow out of requirements presented by organizations, but rather will be designed to meet the requirements for individual education and preparation. Organizations determine how they will consider such work.
Will ordination be offered through these programs?
No more than through any other institution of higher education. MDiv programs do not grant ordination, they are a preparation for ordination. Formation as clergy within a particular ecclesiastical body is entirely at the discretion of that body. The Gnosis Institute will provide a part of the preparation for Gnostic clergy; being Gnostics, however, education is seen as necessary but by no means sufficent preparation.
What Programs will be offered?
Eventually, curricula will be developed for the following programs: Gnostic Studies, Gnostic Ministry, and Spiritual Development. The goal is to provide graduate level courses, and work towards offering graduate level degrees. However, a diploma option will be available for those who have not completed an undergraduate degree, and it is most likely that those programs will be developed first.
The Gnostic Studies Program will provide a Gnostic approach to the study of Gnosticism, combining rigorous scholarship within a Gnostic world-view. Studies will include the necessary foundations in philosophy and psychology that Comparative Religion Studies programs lack.
The Gnostic Ministry Program will focus on preparing individuals to serve others in a Gnostic setting or capacity. This will be the Gnostic equivalent of a Divinity program, that in stark contrast to most such programs will prepare an individual for active service, rather than theological debate. This program will have a strong praxis, and practicum element, and will probably include a minimal formation program.
The Spiritual Development Program will consist of the study of spiritual growth and development from a pragmatic perspective. This program will probably offer a diploma in Personal Spiritual Development for those most interested in the personal applications. The graduate level work will have two areas: a practical element of aiding individual's in their spiritual development, and a research element to increase our knowledge.
How can all of this be done with any academic rigour?
A strong foundation in critical thinking will be required of all students beginning with a required course on critical thinking in religious/spiritual contexts. Unlike creedal religions, Gnosticism has nothing to fear either from critical examination, or from honest research. Gnosis is what matters, everything else is at best a good description or approximation.
Why not start offering degrees now?
The reason that education will not be the main focus of the Gnosis Institute is that the resources required do not currently exist—the Institute must develop them. Until the serious work of the Institute is well underway, developing advanced courses is pre-mature. The purpose of the Institute is not to propagate ideas or beliefs about Gnosticism, but to develop and grow real Gnosticism in our modern world—to build a real center and foundation for the future of Gnosticism. The work of the Institute is also not merely intended to be of service to Gnostics, we are in a position to lead in the real study of spirituality and religion, for the benefit of all.
Friday, June 09, 2006
Thursday, June 08, 2006
Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. To keep our faces toward change and behave like free spirits in the presence of fate is strength undefeatable.
Let Us Have Faith (1940)
I am almost done producing a more standard format podcast, and there has been an absence of feed-back either directly to myself, or in the form of reviews at the various podcast directories, for the two podcasts that have been available for months now. I'd assume no one is listening, but people are at least downloading the mp3s, so it does at least seem possible.
Whether you think they are a waste of bandwidth or not, they are all that is out there in podcast land next to various idiosemantic versions of Gnostics. Reviews make a big difference in how high they show up in listings, and whether they show up or not.
They are also offered as a service, and if they are not serving, I can accomplish other things with that time and effort. I really don't like the sound of my own voice all that much. Let me know, or let the directories know. If only one, the latter; if possible, both.
Even if I were breaking even or making a few dollars for the chapel fund, it is a great deal of work for very little return. The design, manufacture, packaging, and shipping are performed by myself, and if all went well, it would have meant about $2.00 per candle for the chapel fund. This is not only working multiple times for the same dollar, but does not factor in lost opportunity costs—not doing things that may be of service and support this ministry at the same time.
I will be taking a break from producing products until the 2007 Gnostic Wall Calendar is available. And then, will focus on products that don't involve shipping heavy or breakable items. One of the things I hope to offer is a new edition of The Mystery and Magic of the Eucharist by Stephan Hoeller, and other small publications that are very difficult to find.
Tuesday, June 06, 2006
And Happy Birthday to all the Boys and Girls with a cool birth date! Honorary Beast-Boys and Beast-Girls all.
Yes, Hank McCoy is the Beast. I have to confess he was my favorite of the original X-men, although my exposure to them was through cheap second-hand yard sale comics (when you could still get such things.) It was a mix of his acrobatics, with his eloquent & erudite wise-cracks. When he was morphed into the blue furry version most folks are more familiar with, especially with the recent movie, he stopped being as eloquent and erudite in his dialog. (Or, the writers just didn't do as good of a job.)
Sunday, June 04, 2006
Friday, June 02, 2006
Pam has written very well on the issue at God is a Joke:
Christians and Dan Brown Misunderstand the Gnostic Gospels
Thursday, June 01, 2006
What, were you expecting me to name just one? Oh, they are everywhere. And although what they have to say sounds to us like the far-from-profound insights of a hard night's drinking, they consider them to be worthy of deep consideration, if not outright reverence. And, also like someone after a hard night's drinking, they demand to be heard. Combine Ego Inflation with a Shadow Projection, place it in the human arena most prone to insanity, religion, and you get the New Prophet.
What does the New Prophet preach? “You don't need to listen to religion to tell you the answers. You don't need to follow it to get the good stuff. Listen to me! I have the answers! Follow me to the good stuff!” Is it any wonder that the few who stick it out and somehow succeed as a New Prophet end up following the same old patterns? In attacking “religion” they may delude themselves into thinking they are different, but it is only a shadow projection, and they end up becoming all that they attack—because they always were.Asking, “who hasn't been hurt in religion?” is like asking “who hasn't been hurt in love?” You are either too young, or it is a blatantly rhetorical question. So, the real question is: now what? The common answer is to paint it all “evil.” Not love, by the way, not usually for long at least. No, many people have traded the old red horned model of devil in for a new one that they call “organized religion,” and often it seems only the names have been changed to protect the ignorant.
I have a friend who has been hurt in religion badly enough that he has an actual phobia. He went to my ordination, but just couldn't walk through the doors of the chapel. Phobias are a way for the more primitive parts of our brains to keep the more “intelligent” parts from doing things that have had disastrous results in the past, or are ingrained in our biology. The physical anxiety that arises when confronted with something associated with great harm, is meant to keep you from imminent danger. When I think of him, I can only cringe with embarrassment at my past shadow projections on religion, and see the New Prophets for what they are.
If you publicly engage in ministry through a recognizable form, you will get your share of New Prophets. They may come speaking sweetly at first, but they will expect you to acknowledge their superior insights or understanding, even if it is on the order of teaching you the ABC's, or lecturing you on the land of make-believe. If you don't show proper respect and reverence, the knives will come out. Or they just charge with blades drawn from the get-go. Your terrible crime, worthy of such a response? “Oppressing them” by not recognizing their great importance, or simply by not capitulating to them.
The amazingly funny thing is--they all think they are the only ones. Tiggers without the bouncy. You want to say to them, “yes, you are the only one, exactly like every other ego on the planet—but you are so much more, like every other divine spark in the cosmos.” However, they come to preach and be praised, not to learn.
Being a New Prophet can often be just a phase; the contradictions become too many and too blatant, the passion fades. Few have the stamina to be a complete fool on their own, they usually require assistance. However, the prejudices usually remain—not the phobias, or real defenses—the devil with a collar instead of horns is no less cartoon-like.
We will take a look at the particular doctrines and dogmas of the current string of successful New Prophets in the near future—how they hide the old doctrines and dogmas in 'new' forms.