Alex wrote:I think it is important to say (having done a little bit of looking into the question) that the AA program is a direct expression of Christian spiritualism, and by that I mean the notion of 'the Holy Spirit' as a sort of incomprehensible spiritual presence, something that acts on persons and in them. I have read that the program developed very directly from a faith-based (Protestant and Evangelical) Christianity, and took a great deal from Corinthians 13 and also the Book of James.
Bill W. admittedly gleaned his 'program' largely from the fundamental Christian principles of the Oxford Group, which was a first-century Christian fellowship that he attended for a time when he first sobered up. And indeed the 'Holy Spirit' is a real thing, a real force or power and source of intelligence. And in order to tune in and flow with that holy spirit one must have a purified mind, which is a natural mind. A mind that has managed to free itself of all its societally acquired and deeply conditioned self-protective offensive and defensive posturing, which everyone of us falls prey to early on in life.
Alex wrote:As I have tried to understand Christianity, I have encountered parts of its expressions that have appalled me, terrified me, but there are other parts of it that when conceived of nicely, or when plumbed, give rise to a very powerful and transforming power or potency. The Book of James is filled with some pretty amazing stuff, I find.
True experientially understood Christianity (fundamental Christian principles and teachings) is indeed terrifying, as is reality, but, as I alluded before, the terror of the reality of the fallen human condition (the abyss) must be fully faced if one is to ever gain permanent and comfortable residence in the promised land. And it's surely not a cakewalk as both modern day Christendom and A. A. would have one believe. All true men of faith have experienced great suffering, including Bill W. A few years after he developed his program he went into periods of depression which lasted some 11 years. And for 2 of those years his depression was agonizingly dark and quite debilitating. I too have undergone similar experiences, as has my wife also.
Alex wrote:It is interesting what you say about what AA became. But at the same time so many aspects of an 'authentic Christianity' (spontaneous spirituality, kindness, disinterested association, freedom from controlling mental systems, inner awakening and something 'life-giving) can have no place in the mechanistic cultural system than only seems to solidify itself more and more, squeezing out spontaneous and sincere spiritual value.
This is the reason Christianity and A. A. (and its many sister fellowships) don't work at a true spiritual level and why no one ever manages to fully breakthrough. And also the reason an esoteric fellowship that's remote from all of this worldly chatter, distractions, and constrictions, along with fully qualified, experienced, and understanding leadership will be necessary in order to develop a body of true Christian Soldiers or true Knights of Faith. Which is the only hope for the future survival of the human species.
"Earth needs a place where men can live away from all national rivalries, social conventions, self-contradictory moralities and contending religions; a place where human beings, freed from all slavery of the past, can devote themselves wholly to the discovery and practice of the Divine Consciousness that is seeking to manifest itself." (The Mother of Auroville, India)
Though Aurobindo and the Mother never managed to successfully build their 'Ark'. As was the case with many others who have tried.
"I dream'd in a dream I saw a city invincible to the attacks of the rest of the earth. I dreamed that was the new city of Friends. Nothing was greater there than the quality of robust Love. It led the rest. It was seen every hour in the actions of the Men of that city, and in all their looks and words." (Walt Whitman)
Nor did Walt ever realize his dream.
To suffer one's death and to be reborn is not an easy thing, nor is it an overnight matter. Especially in light of the fact that there's so much of one's falsely-conditioned self that needs to die. And remember here, as it's been said of old: "Except a man be born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God." And the same notion is more meekly made in the A. A. text book: "We were reborn" and "We have had deep and effective spiritual experiences which have revolutionized our whole attitude towards life, our fellows and towards God's universe." All of which meaning absolutely nothing to anyone who has not experienced the experience. Nor will these statements help lead anyone to this necessary radically transformative rebirth experience. A far more elaborate and detailed experientially-based explanation and coaching will be necessary in order to help initiate and complete this rebirth process in others.
And lastly here, and from my own experience, one must go through the depths of hell and torment of the soul if he's to ever discover and then dwell in a heaven that's eternally right here, right now, on the planet earth.