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Re: [GTh] The evil mustard seed

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  • Michael Grondin
    Stephen- I m confused about deep similitude . It sounds good, but the your use of it is rather perplexing. You say at first that a parable should give deep
    Message 1 of 14 , Oct 16, 2003
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      Stephen-

      I'm confused about "deep similitude". It sounds good, but the your use of it
      is rather perplexing. You say at first that a parable should "give deep
      similitude" to the concept it's trying to express, and then later that you
      don't think that a certain interpretation "exhibits a deep similitude" to
      the parable in 98. These are two different things, I would think. Bearing in
      mind that 'similitude' simply means 'similarity', these two statements seem
      to be substantially equivalent to:

      1. A parable should be very similar to the concept it's expressing, and
      2. An interpretation should be very similar to the parable it's
      interpreting.

      I suppose what you're trying to say is that the parable-maker in this case
      could hardly have chosen such an image as an amateur assassin to illustrate
      what the Kingdom is like. So here and also with the mustard-seed, you think
      that the image might have been intended to invoke evil. (BTW, the swordsman
      thrusts his sword _into_ the wall, not _through_ it.) But perhaps the
      intended lesson of some of these parables is that the initiation of the
      Kingdom - like childbirth - isn't pretty.

      BTW, 98 ties in rather nicely with the saying about the kingdom being both
      internal and external.

      Mike Grondin
      Mt. Clemens, MI
    • Tom Saunders
      Hi Mike, Thank you for your response. I agree completely that the parable of the sword and the wall is aimed at what you refer to as ordinary people, and
      Message 2 of 14 , Oct 16, 2003
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        Hi Mike,

        Thank you for your response. I agree completely that the parable of the 'sword and the wall' is aimed at what you refer to as ordinary people, and not trained fighters. However the act of practicing with a sword to use it qualifies as an interest in the practice of martial arts, we'll call it technique.

        When you use the visualization of the wall as a target, you are doing a form of meditation that lets you use the 'vision' to evaluate both offensive and defensive moves. Using this visualization in actual combat or the act of assassination gives you a higher level of understanding how the sword can be used. It also lets you experience the commitment to the meditation, and turning that into a reality. Very mystical.

        Saying 98, is a key to using the tool of a 'vision' and I think the other parables can be reasoned the same. Think about the 'passage of the soul' against the seven demons of wrath in Mary. To paraphrase the GMary..... "Put the vision between the soul and the spirit in the mind, then fight 'your' demons, by becoming a person of light."

        Also, "Thank you Mike Mazina.......

        Tom Saunders
        Platter, OK


        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • George Duffy
        Mike, In regard to Th98, I want to go back to something you wrote in reply to Frank McCoy in a message dated 6/7/2001. At the time, I was so intrigued by the
        Message 3 of 14 , Oct 16, 2003
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          Mike,

          In regard to Th98, I want to go back to something you wrote in reply
          to Frank McCoy in a message dated 6/7/2001. At the time, I was so
          intrigued by the implications of your remark that I saved it in my
          documents folder with the idea of asking you about it sometime later.
          Unfortunately, I neglected to do so, and you, as far as I know, never
          brought it up again.

          In the message, you were suggesting a connection between the meaning
          of Th98 and Th97; that looking at Th98 in a different way might begin
          to answer the problem of Gth97. Gth98 reads:

          "Jesus said, 'The kingdom of the father is like a certain man who
          wanted to kill a powerful man. In his own house he drew his sword and
          stuck it into the wall in order to find out whether his hand could
          carry through. Then he slew the powerful man.'"


          Mike Grondin wrote on 6/7/2001:

          "One little word may be crucial - the word 'TOTE'.
          Normally, it's translated 'then', but it seems to have a temporal
          dimension as well - as in 'at that moment' or 'just then'. What a
          difference it makes if we read Th98 as saying at the end, "At that
          moment [i.e., when he stuck the sword in the wall], he slew the
          powerful man""!


          Yes indeed, accepting that the word 'TOTE' may be translated as 'at
          that moment' makes a big difference in how we might understand this
          saying. Let me try to give you my take on the saying as a whole,
          while employing your translation suggestion.

          My feeling is that Jesus here is not describing an external event, but
          an internal event. I feel the same way about TH9, the saying about
          the man and the lion, bent on consuming each other. I don't think
          that that saying is any more about real lions than this one is about
          real swords. The kingdom of the father, the realm of truth and
          enlightenment, is revealed to the one who can overcome *internally*
          his baser or worldly nature and allow his divine nature to shine
          through. Gth98 is a symbolic depiction of this epic struggle that
          endlessly goes on in the minds of human beings.

          In Gth98 the assassin is the seeker who has had his fill of the world
          and wants to be free, psychologically and spiritually free. He knows
          that half measures won't work. The realm of the world is both a
          prison and a force that is so powerful that both the realm of God and
          the worldly realm can't coexist together in peace. So in Th47 we
          read, "it is impossible for a servent to serve two masters; otherwise,
          he will honor the one and treat the other contemptuously." In Th35
          the strong man must be bound before his house can be ransacked, again
          I think, representing the internal bind or be bound struggle between
          man's worldly nature and his divine.

          So knowing that half measures won't work, the man decides to eliminate
          the powerful man, a symbol representing the part of himself he must be
          free of. I don't believe that the powerful man here represents the
          body, as an external thing to be eliminated. That wouldn't do the man
          much good. But the *idea* of the body, as his identity, as something
          separate from God and separate from everything else, that's the part
          of his thinking that he want's to eliminate from his mind altogether.

          Now since this struggle is internal, the man can only destroy his
          allegence to and identity with the world by cutting his connection
          with it internally. He has to stop believing it has any real power
          over him, stop trusting it, stop feeding it with whatever ego
          enhancers he has at hand. In short, he must totally align himself
          with its opposite, which Thomas identifies as the kingdom of the
          father, one or union.

          But our boy is scared. Who wouldn't be, facing such a formidable foe.
          So he cautiously cuts into the wall of his house to test his nerve.
          This "house" is also a symbol. It's not a real house. It represents
          the *structure* of his world-dominated belief system. It's this house
          that I think Jesus refers to in Th71, when he says, "I shall [destroy
          this]house, and no one will be able to build it [...]" Destroying
          this structure of thinking is basic, I think, to the purpose of these
          sayings.

          Now this is where I return to what you said, Mike, about "TOTE". The
          saying deliberately employs a word that can be used in two ways.
          That's what makes this saying so damn clever. It rewards those
          willing to probe deeper into this little maze. It seems to be saying,
          "after that, he slew the powerful man." But what I think it's really
          saying is that when the man assaults the wall of the house, the very
          structure of his world-dominated belief system, *at that very moment*
          the powerful ego-driven nature is slain. An internal problem is fixed
          with an internal solution. This understanding of Th98 seems to me to
          be totally consistent with the gospel as a whole. It repeats the
          theme of learning to know who we really are.

          Thanks,

          George Duffy
        • Michael Grondin
          ... That may be so, but I doubt whether the prospective audience would have understood the surface details of the parable in this way, thus I doubt that this
          Message 4 of 14 , Oct 16, 2003
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            Tom Saunders wrote:
            > When you use the visualization of the wall as a target, you are doing
            > a form of meditation that lets you use the 'vision' to evaluate both
            > offensive and defensive moves. Using this visualization in actual
            > combat or the act of assassination gives you a higher level of
            > understanding how the sword can be used. It also lets you
            > experience the commitment to the meditation, and turning that into
            > a reality. Very mystical.

            That may be so, but I doubt whether the prospective audience would have
            understood the surface details of the parable in this way, thus I doubt that
            this was the intended interpretation.

            Mike Grondin
          • Stephen
            Mike, A parable is a way of expressing some theological or mystical concept A in terms of a story B . By deep similitude I meant that there should be some
            Message 5 of 14 , Oct 17, 2003
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              Mike,

              A parable is a way of expressing some theological or mystical concept 'A' in
              terms of a story 'B'. By deep similitude I meant that there should be some
              mapping of A onto B so that the important features of the story B correspond
              to important features in the explanation A.

              To apply this to 98 - the most striking (no pun intended!) feature of the
              story is the image of the man putting the sword into the wall of his own
              house. If we were to interpret the story as just a trail of strength before
              slaying the devil then there is no explanation of why this trail of strength
              takes this form. So I would reject this simple 'trial of strength'
              explanation as being inadequate. If however the explanation was that the
              trial of strength was some mortification of the flesh before going on to
              slay the devil then this would give an explanation of the sword being struck
              into the persons own house. You could say that the interpretation has
              passed this test - although it may still not be the correct one!

              The second problem with the 'trial of strength interpretation is indeed that
              the assassin is evil and I believe is more likely to represent an evil force
              rather than a person seeking the kingdom.

              Personally I still favour the explanation that the house is a person's body,
              the powerful man is a person's spirit. I take the state of being possessed
              with the spirit as being the same as the kingdom of heaven, the imperial
              rule of god. A demon attempting to destroy the spirit will first strike at
              the body, his own house. I do not think the Gnostics would have had many
              problems with seeing the physical body as belonging to the devil. If the
              demon wins this trial of strength at the bodily level he will go on to slay
              the spirit.

              Stephen Peter


              ----- Original Message -----
              From: Michael Grondin <mwgrondin@...>
              To: <gthomas@yahoogroups.com>
              Sent: Thursday, October 16, 2003 1:17 PM
              Subject: Re: [GTh] The evil mustard seed


              > Stephen-
              >
              > I'm confused about "deep similitude". It sounds good, but the your use of
              it
              > is rather perplexing. You say at first that a parable should "give deep
              > similitude" to the concept it's trying to express, and then later that you
              > don't think that a certain interpretation "exhibits a deep similitude" to
              > the parable in 98. These are two different things, I would think. Bearing
              in
              > mind that 'similitude' simply means 'similarity', these two statements
              seem
              > to be substantially equivalent to:
              >
              > 1. A parable should be very similar to the concept it's expressing, and
              > 2. An interpretation should be very similar to the parable it's
              > interpreting.
              >
              > I suppose what you're trying to say is that the parable-maker in this case
              > could hardly have chosen such an image as an amateur assassin to
              illustrate
              > what the Kingdom is like. So here and also with the mustard-seed, you
              think
              > that the image might have been intended to invoke evil. (BTW, the
              swordsman
              > thrusts his sword _into_ the wall, not _through_ it.) But perhaps the
              > intended lesson of some of these parables is that the initiation of the
              > Kingdom - like childbirth - isn't pretty.
              >
              > BTW, 98 ties in rather nicely with the saying about the kingdom being both
              > internal and external.
              >
              > Mike Grondin
              > Mt. Clemens, MI
              >
              >
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