From Dialogue to Theology


Dialogue
is so fundamental
to True Christianity,
it is difficult to understand
why it is so poorly developed
within Catholicism.

Jesus was constantly in Dialogue with Others.

True Theology
is born through
Questioning
and it must start by
Listening.

Theology is a Quest for Truth
that Presupposes Dialogue.

The Dialogue begun with Vatican II
did not last very long
as Preservation of the Institution
was/is the paramount focus
of those in control.

Poor Dialogue
has resulted in
Poor Theology.

Much has been written about
the crises in the Church;
the crisis of authority and credibility,
the crisis of religious vocations,
the crisis of doctrine and dogma,
the financial crises,
the crisis of hierarchical abuse,
sexual and other,
But behind all of these is
a profound crisis of Theology.

Any and all bold and prophetic Theologians
willing to re-think and re-formulate Catholic Theology
have been threatened, sacked, exiled, silenced
and even excommunicated.

Catholicism is bad Theology
because of the ruling structures
of the Church.
Narrow orthodoxy
is its measure of loyalty.
Thirst for Truth
is wrongly labeled
relativism.
New thoughts
are anathema.

Dialogue
is the basis
for Good Theology
is the basis
           for a healthy Church.        
Lack of it
results in
a church on its deathbed.

Good Theology
is the Human
kneading of the Word of God,
shaping it into Human words and images,
baking in the fire of Human experiences,
so that it can be
the Bread of Life.

It cannot be the voice of one group
or one gender.

Good Theology
needs the full range of human experience
communicated and shared
in Honest Open Dialogue.

Silenced
within the Institution,
Dialogue will flourish outside the walls,
                                      in the light of human experience,
growing a Theology
as Jesus did,
by simply Being in Love.

An Open Gate . . .

An Overlooked Gate to the Divine

Many writers familiar with
John of the Cross
assume that this mystic and spiritual teacher
made exclusive use
of two approaches to the Mystery of God:
The Upper Gate of Transcendence
and
The Lower Gate of Introspection and Indwelling.

To approach God through the Upper Gate
is to encounter the Transcendent God On High
on the Mountain Top
shrouded in fog
by the Cloud of the Unknowing.

To approach God through the Lower Gate
is to journey within oneself
in order to meet God
dwelling within the Soul.

But
John of the Cross
was also about the journey to God
through a Middle Gate,
the discovery of God
in Creation,
in people,
in events,
in nature,
in the Universe.

John’s Middle Gate to the Mystery of God is
Sensitivity to Beauty, Compassion
as well as
Being in Love

The Middle Gate
opens to parent, spouse, child,
relative, friend, companion, soul mate,
neighbor, prisoner,
sickly, hungry, thirsty.

To pass through the Middle Gate
is to see God Incarnated as Creation,
as BEING-in-Love.

The Impact of True Dialogue


The Impact of True Dialogue


True Dialogue
has been one of the most consoling experiences
in my life.

Beyond mere conversation,
I have come away from True Dialogue
Understood,
Enlightened,
and
Encouraged.

Importantly,
so has the one with whom I dialogued.

I have discovered that
Good Dialogue
can be planned or unplanned
and even though not undertaken as therapy,
Good Dialogue can be healing.

I have found that
even though Good Dialogue may not be aimed at
Faith Sharing,
it quite often happens.

Though True Dialogue is never based on trying to
Convert the Other
to a way of thinking,
it often happens.

Loving Listening
is a critical Key to True Dialogue,
but is never the sole objective.

True Dialogue
involves honest self-disclosure
demanding
Vulnerability
in the process.

Good Dialogue
is incremental,
building on a previous remark.
respectfully
and
         freely.       

At Sea,
ships bounce signals off the bottom
to establish depths.
In Dialogue,
the open honest remarks of each participant
establish the depths
to which each is prepared to go,
to the point where
values, desires, aspirations,
and the very Presence of the Holy Spirit
form the content of the Dialogue.

Spiritual Dialogue,
absent in within religious circles today
has been a key to my Spiritual Transformation,
My Metanoia
and it may well be
a key to the Renewal,
if not the Survival,
of Institutional Church.




and growing, growing

Spiritual Growth

My Spiritual Growth revealed a much bigger and very different horizon
than I ever could have imagined.

It has been a slow, patient learning,
and sometimes even a happy letting-go,
a seeming emptying out,
 creating a readiness for a new kind of fullness
about which I could never be certain.

 If I had not nurtured my own Spiritual Growth,
 an ever-increasing resistance and denial would have set in,
an ever-increasing circling of the wagons
 around an over-defended church and self.

I had to learn how to hope,
to move outside and beyond my religion and it's self-created circle,
which is something quite different from the hope of my youth.

My Youthful hopes had concrete goals,
whereas the hope of my older years has been aimless hope,
hope without goals,
even naked hope,
 which is perhaps, real hope.

Such stretching has been the agony and the joy of my later years,
 although I could have avoided both of these rich experiences.

My older age, as such, has been almost a complete changing of gears and engines
from the first half of my life,
and did  not happen without a slow realization,
 inner calming,
 sense of peace,
exploration,
and eventual surrender,
to God's grace,
working with my ever-deepening sense
of what I really desire
and who I really am.

This process largely operated unconsciously,
although it was jolted into my consciousness now and then
with the awareness that I had been led,
 often despite myself,
 to experience a deep gratitude
that most would call happiness.

I never thought of old age as an apex of achievement,
no sitting atop a summit with the raised arms of a victorious athlete.
It has been something else,
something other than what I initially imagined,
or even hoped for.

I needed to recognize that my Spiritual Growth required
an increasing tolerance for ambiguity,
a growing sense of subtlety,
an ever-larger ability to include and allow,
a capacity to live with contradictions
and even to love them!

My Spiritual Growth has been most basically
 a capacity for non-dual consciousness
and contemplation.

Many might just call it growth in compassion,
but surely no growth in compassion was likely
unless I learned how to forgive
as a very way of life,
and to let go of almost everything
as first I imagined it had to be.

My Spiritual Growth
has reconnected me to God,
BEING-in-Love
by
Being in Love.