An article donated by Alton C. Thompson
Proposal to Create a Life Enhancement Group (LEG)
Viewing oneself as the subject of a King:
I believe it of great value for Christians to think of themselves as the subject of a King -- in this case a Higher Power that some would call "God."
My preference, however, is not to personify the Higher Power. by giving it the name “God;” instead to think of the Higher Power as an abstraction that we cannot define or visualize, but that is still real.)
If one thinks of oneself as a subject, the questions that one will ask are:
- What does the King expect of me?
- How do I determine what the King expects of me?
My answer to these questions is that I should expect the King to “speak” to me directly:
- without a book (such as the Bible), and
- without some other person (such as the pope, a bishop, a minister, etc.), acting as an intermediary between me and that Higher Power.
In addition, however, I recognize that any given individual can claim to have received messages from the Higher Power but do so in a deliberate (if but unconscious) effort to gain attention to himself or herself.
What does the King want from us?
The great Hallelujah Chorus, composed by George Frederic Handel [1685 - 1759] (as performed here by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and orchestra), asserts that:
"The kingdom of this world
Is become the kingdom of our Lord"
But has it become so? To answer that question, one must first -- obviously -- know what the “Lord” wants on Earth.
Which leads us to ask next: “How do we find out what the Lord wants?” For those of us raised in Christianity, the “obvious” answer to that question is: “Search in the (Christian) Bible for the answer.”
In doing so, one might, for example, argue that the Lord wants us to be religious, and that given that “religion” is defined in just one place in the Bible -- in James 1:27. It’s that definition that should be regarded as best expressing what the Lord wants:
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
Now if that’s what the Lord wants, we must admit that we humans haven’t done very well in “being religious”!
An alternate approach to assess the King's will:
Let me suggest here a different approach, one having its basis in the fact that for many Christians:
- Many, if not most, of the individuals who “people” the Bible were inspired — i.e., had messages revealed to them;
- Those who wrote the books comprising the Bible were inspired, and what they wrote was revealed to them;
- Both of the above.
A question that this belief suggests is: Why is it reasonable to assume that inspiration and revelation ended when the last book in the Bible was written?
Was not the motive -- perhaps unconscious -- behind this claim, when originally made, that it would provide employment to those who made the claim? That is, those who first made the claim perceived themselves as best qualified to interpret the Bible to others! That claim later resulted in an army of “scholars” who perceived it as their task to better understand the Bible!
In short, there’s good reason to question the claim that inspiration/revelation ended centuries ago. But that conclusion, in turn, leads to these questions:
Can inspiration/revelation be conduced or, rather, is it something that “just happens”?
How is one to determine which claims to inspiration/revelation are genuine, which spurious?
What I would propose here is an institution that, I believe, can conduce inspiration and revelation. That institution would be designed to ensure that one can have confidence that what participants in that institution come to think of as from the Lord, is such -- i.e., is genuine.
I call the institution that I have in mind a Life Enhancement one, and it is described in detail in this short book. There’s no need to describe that institution here in detail, but here’s a quotation from Page 6 that can serve as an introduction to it:
"Given the importance of life to all of us, I find it surprising that no institution exists devoted to life! Therefore, I propose the Life Enhancement Group (LEG) as an institution with such an orientation. Inclusion of the word “group” in the name implies that what a LEG is “about” is interaction with others -- but in a structured manner, I would add. Briefly, a LEG, as I conceive it, is a discussion group that:
- Gives those associated with it an opportunity to talk about whatever, regarding life, they wish to talk about.
- An opportunity to listen to what others have to say.
This occurring in a situation in which:
- Respect for others in the group is demanded -- a concomitant of that being that one promises not to gossip to “outsiders” about what one has heard while in a group meeting.
- Interruption is not permitted.
I should add that the “leader” for a given discussion session is chosen on a random basis, that participants are seated in a circle, and that a “talking stick” is passed from person to person, in a clockwise manner -- with the “leader” setting the tone of the discussion, and the others present continuing that tone.
Participants would view their discussion as sacred. This would give the discussion a religious cast. People who have spent their lives in a church -- and, thus, been talked at and have been encouraged to participate in various rituals -- may find this institution strange; but it would be Biblical in that it would value inspiration/revelation -- but that of a current nature.
This should please the King!
Original posting: 2018-MAR-18
Latest update : 2018-MAR-18
Author: Alton C. Thompson