Thursday, June 01, 2006

Meet the New Prophet

...the same as the old Prophet.

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.


jp said...

so what you're saying is that we should all be looking for...

wait for it...

"Non-Prophet Corporations"?

(da-dum, CHH!)

Matt said...

What you resist you become.

I first understood that (and what you're talking about), or started to, when my friend Jimmy told me a few years back: "You're trapped by not being trapped."

I haven't had to deal with many new prophets personally, but anybody speaking the language of resistance to me raises a red flag.

(Hey, it was good, again, to meet you at Borders last night).

Rev. Troy said...

A very good example, thanks.

(It was nice to meet you as well, and I look forward to future conversations.)