Diarogue 5/7: Seer, Wisdom

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Episode #5 of The Rogue Dialogues: Inner Healing for Leadership

Continued from Adept, Wisdom

A serious-looking, raven-haired young woman with a sable cloak and green eyes enters the room.

Seer: Thena? My lady Thena, art thou here?

Thena: [entering] Rogue, my dear child, how you have grown! Who are you today?

S. I hast followed thy advice and become a Seer. My life is devoted to seeing others as they are, not as I wish them to be. I can even see the invisible kingdom alongside the kingdoms of man.

T. Wonderful! I am so proud of you. But why did you say this was my advice?

S. For sooth, that is the reason I sought thee out, for fear I hath misunderstood thy intent when last we met.

T. What did you think I meant?

S. I was an Adept strong in battle, yet thou shewed me fretful and vulnerable as ever I lost sight of my surroundings, or thee. I took this as a challenge to improve my vision.

T. That challenge was well-taken, dear child. But are you concerned you may have taken it too far?

S. Yea, verily. For I am now so besotten with every little detail, I know not whence to act. I see all sides of a conflict, and the Justice and Pain behind each, so that my heart is torn every which way and darest not choose sides.

“I see all sides of a conflict, and the Justice and Pain behind each, so that my heart is torn every which way and darest not choose sides.”

Seer

T. Gentle Seer, I honor the pain you carry. While it was not my intent to place this great burden upon a you, yet I am so proud you took the narrow path until its bitter end.

S. But what good hath I done? Hast I not wasteth my life, if all I do is see and not act?

T. Seer, you surprise me! Do you truly not see the great power of seeing?

S. Mistress, thou justly shamest me. I took such great pride in my vision that I thought I hath seen it all. Please forgive me.

T. Seer, I see your humility and honor you for it. I see the pure hunger that drove you to discipline your mind and body; and also the vanity and insecurity that both spurred you on and crippled you.

“I see the pure hunger that drove you to discipline your mind and body; and also the vanity and insecurity that both spurred you on and crippled you.”

Thena, Goddess of Wisdom

T. I see your childlike curiosity, as well as your selfish desire for superior knowledge. Your longing to help, and your need for control. Your deep compassion — and subtle judging. Know that I see you, with all your glory and all your flaws, and love you all the more for both of them.

“Know that I see you, with all your glory and all your flaws, and love you all the more for both of them.”

Thena, Goddess of Wisdom

Seer, overcome, kneels down and weeps. Thena reaches down and gently strokes her hair.

T. Seer, the power of seeing is the second of God’s Great Acts. The first is to Beget. The second is to Behold. No life is wasted even if devoted to just one of these.

Seer rises. Thena hugs her fiercely, then holds her at arms length.

S. Mother, what shadow of trouble so darkens thy brow?

T. O, daughter!

Thena collapses. Seer kneels beside her.

S. Mother, what illness hath befallen thee?

T. No illness, child. But darkness. A darkness woven into my bones before the foundation of this world.

S. Is there no cure? Thou has taught me to seek so far, surely somewhere I mayest find thy succor?

T. No… but yes. Even Wisdom has its limits, child. Your instinct was right. To be a Seer is a great and agonizing call. But the one that comes after is much more of both. And that step… I cannot take with you.

S. No! Dearest mother, thou hast always been my sweetest friend. Let me abide with thee still, even if I must die with thee.

T. O my darling Rogue, how tempted I am to spare you the bitter cup that awaits. But such decisions are not mine to make. I am not worthy to choose the time and place of my own death, much less yours.

Thena seems to have aged a century. She lies back on the ground.

T. Come close to me, child. There is but one path left, if you would save my life and fulfill your destiny.

Seer grips Thena’s suddenly frail hand with two of hers. She lowers her ears to Thena’s lips.

T. [inaudible]

Seer screams and jumps to her feet.

S. No! No, please. No, not that! Never!!

Weeping and wailing, Seer runs off into the darkness.
While Wisdom lays dying in the light.

Continued in Diarogue 6/7: Carnus, War

Preparing to See God’s Glory

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We long for God’s radiant glory
But rarely remember
How much it terrifies
Those who experience it

Maybe we need
To build up our endurance
By training our eyes
Or our hearts
To see the depths of our sin
And His grace

So that we can bear to be around Him
And ourselves
When He appears

Socrates Repents (An Alternative “Apology”)

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[I realize this looks like (and probably is) a harsh critique of the most revered figure in philosophy (Hat Tip to Taleb for stating it first). But I didn’t write it about him. I wrote it about me.]

Friends, Athenians, countrymen
Lend me your ears!
For I fear mine have not been working.

While awaiting my trial
And preparing my Apology
I was granted a vision of Apollo

He reminded me that his Oracle
Had already said
That none was wiser than Socrates

Why then, he asked me
Did I still torment the citizens of Athens
Hoping to find answers to my questions?

His words troubled my heart
It made me question my deepest beliefs
I felt my soul shriveling within me

For the God spoke truth
I had ignored his words
Or rather, sought to refute them

Worse, why did my daimonion not stop me?
This inner voice that long warded me
Always kept me from acts of evil

It forced me to ask the hard question
I had never asked myself
Or enabled others to ask of me

Why did I trust the daimonion
And not the deity?

Pride

The easy answer is pride
Certainly my enemies see it so
And I must acknowledge their bitter truth

Yet strangely it was an excess of humility
That drove me to challenge the God’s claim
That none were wiser than I

So why did I see humility
In the very same thing
That others recognized as pride?

Because I saw myself
As submitting to my daimonion
As a thing other than myself

The thing I took pride in
Was my self-awareness
Of how little I knew

You Athenians only saw
Me worshipping what was inside me
At the expense of the what you worship

It is right and just
For you to accuse me
Of pride and impiety

It is just and right
For me to die
For I have set myself above all of you

Yet while that is all true
And death would be fair and merciful
It is still too easy of an answer

For if I confess my sin as mere pride
Then I am the most foolish of men
Which once again, makes the God a liar

My true sin is far, far worse
Yet it is one my worst enemy
Would be loath to speak against me

Cowardice

For as I stared into the depths of my soul
And confronted with horror
My willful defiance of the God’s own truth

I had to ask myself: why?
Why could I not simply agree?
Why not simply accept I was the wisest man alive?

Why not revel in my high position?
Why not accept riches and status
For selling wisdom to eager buyers?

If I had, I would not be here today
Shackled and condemned
Making a widow and orphans of my family

You may have envied me
But you would never have condemned me
Because I would have been no threat

But I was cursed with a deep truth
That I truly had no wisdom to give
And to claim otherwise would unman me

But I can claim no credit
For my embrace of that truth
Since it led me to deny a deeper one

The word of the Oracle to me
That many would sing as praise
Was to me the knell of death

For I knew I had no goodness in me
And if none were wiser than I
Then surely we all were doomed

It is only to be expected
That a mortal such as I
Would flee that terrible abyss

Indeed, that is why
None of my accusers
Leap to condemn my cowardice

For they too share that same fear
Which is why they must silence
My questions that reveal their shame

In truth, I cannot blame them or myself
For refusing to face the emptiness
That ritual and tradition help us avoid

Yet I cannot help but wonder
Why my daimonion dared not speak
And challenge my craven fear?

I trusted that voice with all my heart
I would gladly have gone to my death
In order to honor its commands

I had always assumed
That this inner voice
Spoke only the truth

And perhaps it is still fair
To say it never lied
Except by omission

What if
That voice
Was also scared?

Trust

I still believe that voice
Cared for my soul
Even to the death of my body

But now it seems
That even spirits
Have their limits

There is a place
That man must go
Where spirits dare not tread

Perhaps my daimonion thought it kinder
For me to wander in darkness
Rather than be burnt by light

But it seems more likely
That my voice was bound
With an oath too terrible to contemplate

It would help me if it could
But is itself in need of rescuing
Which is why it could not save me

I can no longer trust this inner voice
Yet neither can I deny it

Commission

Citizens of Athens
Lend me your ears
And I will lend you mine

I owe you my life
It is yours to take
And mostly gladly would I surrender it

But I ask you instead
To lay a greater burden on me
And perhaps on yourselves

Send me to ask the God
The question I should have asked
Instead of trying to prove Him false

Perhaps only a God
Can speak the awful Word
Than binds the lips of spirits

Grant me the exile I once spurned
But with the added scourge of hope
That I may return if my quest succeeds

If you grant me this indulgence
I will seek the Oracle at Delphi
And lay this Question before her

I know not even now
What is the right Question
That I need to ask

Perhaps my daimonion
May contrive a way
To evade the curse that blocks its aid

Or perhaps I will waste away at Delphi
Longing for a Truth I know not to ask
Of which I and the world are not worthy

Either way, fair citizens
I will trouble you no longer
And you need not have my blood on your hands

Conclusion

My heart rends within me
At how my deeds
Have sundered me from those I love

I know not how to ask forgiveness
When even my penance
Adds to the pain of those who love me

All I can do is lay down my life
In faith to the God
And submission to my community

Thank you.

The End
(Or possibly, The Beginning ?)

TGR-S2E4 Teaching Repentance

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We continue this Season’s focus on The Great Reset of Education at Tuesday 6/9, 1 PM Pacific. In particular, we are wrestling with hard questions of justice and repentance in light of the recent killing of George Floyd.

The Great Reset, Season 2, Episode 4

Question: How do we teach people where they need to repent?

  • What should followers of Jesus condemn?
  • What would that require us to tolerate?

Perspective:

  1. Judging others from a position of Power
  2. Judging behavior from a position of Authority
  3. Judging ourselves from a position of Vulnerability
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The Virtue and Emotion Pride

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One of the most controversial aspects of Knight Club is that it treats pride (“By Myself”) like anger (“Not Fair”): an emotion which is prone to sin, but is not necessarily a sin — and can even be a virtue.

While it is true that the vast majority of Bible verses mention pride in the context of sin, a number acknowledge its positive role. Here are some that are often translated using the word “pride.”
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LEAD! C.5 Studying Scripture

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boIn Which Diligently Searching God’s Word Leads Us to Truth

Few disciplines are as essential — or as dangerous! — as studying the words and works of God. Used in the wrong spirit, theology can become a heavy burden or a useless distraction (cf. Matthew 23:4). But when taught by the Holy Spirit, God’s word becomes the very source of life itself (cf. Luke 4:4). The challenge to us, as to Timothy, is whether we will apply God’s word rightly

Memory Verse: “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”2 Timothy 2:15 (NKJV)

Assigned Reading
  1. Richard Foster: Celebration of Discipline

    • 5. Study
  2. Donald Whitney: Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life

    • 2. Bible Intake (Part I)
  3. Eugene Peterson: A Long Obedience in the Same Direction

    • 6. Help: “Oh, Blessed Be God! He Didn’t Go Off & Leave Us!”
  4. Ruth Haley Barton: Sacred Rhythms

    • 3. Scripture: Encountering God Through Lectio Divina

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LEAD! B.5 From Pride to Humility

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In Which We Humble Ourselves Before God and Our Elders, Who Exalt Us

This week we shift our study of wisdom from the “theological virtues” (faith, hope, and love) to what might be called the “blessed virtues” from the Beatitudes. We will follow Peter Kreeft (below) in contrasting them with the Seven Deadly Sins, beginning with Humility vs. Pride:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” — Matthew 5:3

Pride is the first and deadliest of the deadly sins. It can be defined as “trusting our own name rather than God’s” — relying on our own character and identity as the ultimate authority.

In contrast, humility is recognizing the painful fact of our own poverty of spirit, so that we empty ourselves in order to receive our heavenly King.

Assigned Reading
  1. Peter Kreeft: Back to Virtue

    • 6. The Beatitudes Confront the Seven Deadly Sins
    • 7. Poor in Spirit vs. Proud at Heart
  2. Dick Hockett: Foundations of Wisdom
    • 8. Pride, Humility, and the Fear of the Lord
    • 3.2 (Truth) Example: Proverbs about the Tongue

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LEAD! Part B: Christian Character

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As mentioned earlier, the LEAD! Bible Study is a tripod, built on three legs:

  • theological education
  • character formation
  • skill development

Having finished writing the lessons for Part A, we now turn out attention to the second trimester (which the class will start in January). This blog post is for the initial outline; as before, the final version will be part of the living syllabus at https://2transform.us/lead/
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Stoned, Part II: Un-Stoned

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Continued from “Three Stones“…

[I open my eyes. I am lying with my head on Jesus lap. I am a child, perhaps a tween. We are in a garden — beneath the cross. It is early morning, but already hot. A light mist blows from somewhere, cooling us. It is very peaceful and secure.  I could lie here forever with my Jesus.]

Good morning, Ernie.

Good morning, Jesus.

How are you feeling?

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