Luke 11.14-22

Now he was casting out a demon that was dumb; when the demon had gone out, the dumb man spoke, and the people marveled.

But some of them said, “He casts out demons by Beelzebul, the prince of demons;” while others, to test him, sought from him a sign from Heaven.

But he, knowing their thoughts, said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and a divided household falls. And if Satan also is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand?

“For you say that I cast out demons by Beelzebul. And if I cast out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they shall be your judges.

“But if it is by the finger of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.

“When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own palace, his goods are in peace; but when one stronger than he assails him and overcomes him, he takes away his armor in which he trusted, and divides his spoil.”

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4 responses

  1. What is it to be "possessed by a spirit"?– but to be imprisoned by the character one plays? Not that people need to lose "their character"– just anything they might otherwise mistake for their identity…So when Jesus says, "Come out of him"– this accustomed 'self' says, "Who, me?"Except, in these gospels, in Jesus' presence a fact of recognition takes place: "Oh! 'I' am a destructive and alien process of habitual, mechanical thought and behavior!"– vs "I am spirit; this habit/emotion/belief/ I'd thought I needed to protect… was a parasite!" —-"But some of them said…" When 'a demon' masquerades as a person's religion, social position, his 'good' 'self'… When "his armor in which he trusts" is precisely what needs to "Come out of him…" that recognition may be slow to break through!

  2. So many ways this can cut. William James held that our dreams haunt us with our murdered selves. Murdered selves usually some parts of good we’ve rejected. And dreams possessing the nearly Einstein-like perfect memory of an energy form that conserves all transformations of our character. It seems at least a minimal truth that Jesus is a bad dream for those including myself who want to cling to a religious identity. A native American client once warned me about a certain legal case. The case needed to be okayed by the ancestor spirits. Via the performance of a graveyard ritual. Rational legal rectitude isn’t high enough a standard to please the community of spirits of ancestors. I didn’t feel the need to exorcize my client of this world-view. I did feel the need to exorcize myself of pretending to believe it. I next felt a hypocrisy in my spirit, namely, the hypocrisy of pretending to believe that James’s psychological explanation served better than the native American world-view for whatever goals each wants to accomplish. I discovered that I was in far too great a rush not-to-believe. This hypocrisy too was a part of my own religious identity.

  3. Good to have you back adding stuff… and I hope to be doing so myself, soon. Meanwhile…I know God is here; I don't need to "believe" it– but learning to trust is an ongoing process.How to trust the process in me… that it's coming from God, even if "I" keep making mistakes. (which are also a working of God's will.)Sunday. Anne asks, "Did you bring the banana bread?" "Of course." Actually, I've taken it out of the fridge but we've gotten distracted in our rush, & the loaf is not in the backpack where I'd been about to pack it. Much worship that day, asking how not to be possessed by "myself"… & then Monday night we brought the bread to the local 'Occupy' to read them the minute we'd approved (miraculously!) supporting them… and when I next saw that bread, it was a slice that had gone to a sweet crazy friend who's been on/off the streets since we met her in 98… She'd left food by my sleeping bag when we protested back then!We can't do it by our own ego; we can't do it by 'surrendering' in an 'automatic writing sort of way (finding another way to worship the work of our minds while pretending it isn't ours)– but God works in us, helps us write the truth. We don't have to strain to "figure it out" any more than we need to scrunch up our faces to think… (just another thing digesting in my mind, lately!)

  4. Delightful. The bread has a bit of the flavor from previous notes about Mary and Martha and your wife’s good observations about why Jesus doesn’t pony up and make Mary quit slouching around and muster up some kitchen help. One moralizing story I indulge for myself is to reckon that sitting in silence with the Spirit is better than washing pots and pans, that is, if sitting and listening is where I’m supposed to be for that moment. The untold story about sitting in silence is that whatever Mary did receive down there at Jesus’s feet may have amounted to more confusion than clarity about the location and destiny of banana bread. Who says silent reception can’t cause seasons of confusion to our banana bread plans so that better plans may prevail?

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