Revisiting Atonement

Key topics and themes included in this session:

1. Introduction

  • Smell of earlier work still in the room
  • Exploring interface between Gurdjieff work and Christian Holy Week
  • Focus on atonement theology
  • Difficulty of removing atonement theology from Christianity
  • The cost paid for existence and the obligation to repay

2. The Significance of Atonement Theology

  • Represents a noble sentiment
  • Not a free ride or random evolution
  • A conscious intelligence and will higher than our own
  • A foundation for human altruism
  • Attempts to eliminate atonement theology create a lackluster Christianity

3. The Problem with Atonement Theology

  • Angry God demanding human sacrifice
  • Still prevalent in many Christian teachings
  • Used to justify retributive anger and violence
  • A gentler version in mainstream traditions
  • The story of Abraham and Isaac as a prototype for atonement
  • The complexity of Jesus as both high priest and scapegoat
  • Jesus seen as passive in atonement theology

4. Gurdjieff’s Take on Atonement: Intentional Suffering

  • Conscious labor and intentional suffering
  • Difference between intentional suffering and “stupid suffering”
  • Intentional suffering as a choice, not imposed
  • Bearing another’s unpleasant manifestations willingly
  • The role of freedom and choice in intentional suffering
  • Connection to the priesthood of Melchizedek

5. The Concept of Substituted Love

  • Defined by Charles Williams
  • Ability to carry another’s burden
  • Integral to the celebration of Holy Week
  • Mary Magdalene’s role in connecting the sacrifice to kenosis

6. The Practice of Intentional Suffering

  • Gurdjieff’s emphasis on conscious, clear, and impartial suffering
  • The transformative work of offering suffering for the larger whole
  • Connection to higher worlds and the suffering at the heart of God
  • The obligation to pay for one’s arising and to lighten the sorrow of the common father

7. The Broader Perspective on Intentional Suffering

  • Intentional suffering as a high practice emanating from a higher world
  • The idea that one person’s conscious sacrifice can relieve the burden of another
  • The importance of gratitude and wonder in intentional suffering

8. The Connection Between Love, Death, and Kenosis

  • Love as the perfection of kenosis
  • The exchange of life for love
  • The impact of self-offering on planetary conditions

9. Mary Magdalene’s Essential Role in Holy Week

  • Anointing Jesus and sealing him for his death
  • Her presence during the resurrection
  • Anointing as a symbol of the Paschal Mystery

10. The DNA of Choice in Jesus’ Planetary Body

  • The Annunciation and the choice of Mary and Joseph
  • Seeding of choice in Jesus’ physical DNA
  • The possibility of drawing strength from higher bodies

11. Conclusion

  • Recap of the session’s key insights
  • The potential of drawing cosmic strength to bear earthly suffering

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