Blog # 33: Separating the Wheat from the Chaff

So far, every single human being that I have ever met or heard of, beginning with myself, has shown themselves to be imperfect. The same could be said for every religion or institution or idea. Constantly honing things to make them better and less dysfunctional is, of course, part of evolution. We should always try to leave the world a better place than when we found it. But the solution is not to burn the building down every generation. Let us try to save what is worth saving and only eliminate what does not work.

Jesus seems to be alluding to this reality when He tells His disciples “not to weed out the darnel from the wheat.” The darnel is the waste, the stuff in the field that is not worth anything except being fuel for the fire. The rationale of Jesus is that “when you weed out the darnel you might pull up the wheat with it.” This is a master teacher using an earthy example to make a profound point: erroneous ideas around us should not be plucked out too quickly. In the chaos of creativity, time will eventually sort out what is true and what is not. In the meantime, chill out and listen to everything with an open mind. Who knows, maybe what appears to be absurd will turn out to be true in the future in some way.

A couple of examples come to mind immediately. Galileo and Copernicus were originally imprisoned for their “crazy” ideas about the earth revolving around the sun and not the other way around. Francis of Assissi was thought to be a lunatic for seeing the animals and the sun and the moon as being his brothers and sisters. Einstein was criticized for his “unified field theory” which seemed to fly in the face of common sense.

Of course, an open mind is not the same thing as an empty head! Not everything that is espoused is true just because it is novel. If you, perhaps, have a hard time making sense out of some of claims of certain New Age practitioners, you are not the only one. But there may be some wheat among the chaff. Let time sort out what is true and healthy and what is not. If we spend a lot of our energies tearing down things, we may destroy something down that may, in the future, prove to be right and helpful in some way.

If we are secure in our own beliefs and experiences, we should be able to examine any idea with an open mind and to let people come to their own truth in time. That is what happened to Saint Thomas Aquinas, one of the greatest theologians ever. After trying to explain everything logically, showing heretics how wrong they were, he eventually came to the conclusion that mysticism and direct experience were far superior to his lofty theories and ideas. At that point, he vowed to never write another word! The nonsense frequently surrounding the Truth will only make the Truth more brighter.


Next posting: A New Consensus


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2 responses to “Blog # 33: Separating the Wheat from the Chaff

  1. Michael Burdziak

    Thanks for the wisdom Dr. Tom. Meister Eckhart said, “Theologians may quarrel, but the mystics of the world speak the same language.” What Eckhart knew from the start, it took his brother Dominican St. Thomas a lifetime.

    Peace, Mike


  2. Using our minds to understand something can sometimes be a helpful step. But to understand something intellectually is not the same thing as experiencing it. For that to happen, we need to use the heart as well as the head.


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