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Q had Snark observe rather early on: "Everything in religion that can be destroyed ought to be. Religion is too important for anything but the truth. And the truth you can never destroy."
- Does his observation make sense to you? Would it be good to put it into practice? Dangerous? Say a lot more . . . this is where all this can get practical.
- For that matter, would it be arrogant to say that we can know the Truth? Explain your answer.
- Jesus is supposed to have said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life." We've been talking a lot about ideas . . . and whether or not they are relatively true, or not. Basically, however, Christianity isn't about "propositional truth," i.e., truth expressed in ideas. Unique among the world's religions, it maintains that "truth" resides in a person: Jesus of Nazareth. What do you make of all that? Do you know any "true" persons? "False" ones? "Way, Truth, Life:" are these three words in some manner saying or pointing to the same thing? There's enough in this question alone to keep us going for a long, long time!
- More modestly, has your reading LAST SUPPER RED given you some new ideas to evaluate as to their truthfulness? Have some of those ideas usefully pointed you toward experiencing the truths to which they point? Again, explain.
- Here we go again . . . "'round the bend" and sometimes utterly so! If you didn't discover the first instance of that phrase in an earlier chapter's discussion question, look at Snark's wine label that so incensed Advocatus. It's on page 17. What experiences has the phrase going "'round the bend" conjured up in your mind as you've met it throughout the book?
- Advocatus and Margaret each make much of people . . . and God . . . stepping out of hiding and revealing themselves more truly. Do you think that truth hides within the everyday mundane realities? Does Mystery hide there? Go back and re-read Elizabeth Browning's poem on page 85. Does it speak to you in this context? Either way, say some more.
Margaret's final words are that we are far, far more than we will ever know . . . in spite of our actually being much less than what we would, in our pretending, lead others to believe. Do you resonate with what she says? What is she saying anyhow? Hint: go back and re-read the next-to-the-last paragraph on page 25 and see if that sheds any light on matters.
- Advocatus describes his mystical experience of deeply knowing and, simultaneously, being deeply known. At the end of his long poem on the meaning of love (see 1 Corinthians 13), St. Paul writes, "Now we see but a reflection in a mirror; then we will see face-to-face. Now I know partially, but then I will know completely in the same way that I have been completely known." Was Paul a mystic? Are you? That is, have you had experiences similar to the one Advocatus describes . . . where you deeply knew and at the same time felt deeply known? Would you want such an experience? Would it weird you out?
- We've come a long way since Dialogue 1. We've done a lot of theologizing. And, yes, that's very important! But don't forget that it is by our "fruits" . . . by our actions . . . that we will be known. In the end, it all comes down to doing justly, loving mercy, and walking humbly, to paraphrase the prophet Micah (6:8).
- It's all about the verbs! Becoming transformed inwardly. Being compassionate (literally, to enter into the suffering of another); being hospitable to the stranger/the marginalized/those who are "different"; loving (which doesn't mean "liking") even our enemies; being "counter-cultural" and daring to speak truth to power so that the institutions that touch everyone's lives everyday can more nearly transform the world in accordance with these values.
- But the ideas and beliefs we have will either move us toward these activities or deflect us from them!
- So . . may you keep on going 'round the bend your whole life through . . . and may your journey be a good one!