Brief Comment on the Rodan Papers

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Audience: Talk about Rodan a little–how could that wonderful philosopher be so far ahead of his time?

He wasn't.

Audience: He wasn't?

He wasn't. What we've got there is the distillate of Greek philosophy. And he probably wasn't quite that wonderful. He taught for a week. The midwayers edited his talk and condensed it in one paper. They took the cream of Greek philosophy and immortalized it in this book.

Audience: It's one of the few they did take.


Audience: That made me think it was probably superior.

It's one of my favorite papers. It's the paper which discusses the human art of living in contrast to the mere animal urge to live.

"When men dare to forsake a life of natural craving for one of adventurous art and uncertain logic, . . ."

They've weighed anchor, see?

" . . .they must expect to suffer the consequent hazards of emotional casualties– conflicts, unhappiness, and uncertainties–at least until the time of their attainment of some degree of intellectual and emotional maturity. "

You know, I think of the development of a religious life as being a little bit analogous to the development of a human being. Stop and think of a youngster–make him a boy–10 or 11 years old. Pre-pubescent. He's a pretty well unified kid, isn't he? He's pretty well co-ordinated, and he's a grown-up boy.

Then puberty hits him. He begins falling over his feet, and squeaking around and falling down, and that's what Rodan's talking about here. As long as you're pretty content to be a mammal, you've got no problems. You'd be pretty well adjusted. You'd be content.

But if the hormone of religion hits you, then at least during the period of adolescence, it'll be a little stormy until you mature, from a religious standpoint.

Let's talk a little more about what Rodan said about prayer:

"But the greatest of all methods of problem-solving I have learned from Jesus, your Master. I refer to that which he so constantly practices, and which he has so faithfully taught you, the isolation of worshipful meditation. In this habit of Jesus' going off so frequently by himself to commune with the Father in heaven is to be found the technique, not only of gathering strength and wisdom for the ordinary conflicts of living, but also of appropriating the energy for the solution of the higher problems of a moral and spiritual nature. But even correct methods of solving problems will not compensate for inherent defects of personality or atone for the absence of the hunger and thirst for true righteousness."

"I'm deeply impressed with the custom of Jesus in going apart by himself to engage in these seasons of solitary survey of the problems of living; to seek for new stores of wisdom and energy for meeting the manifold demands of social service; to quicken and deepen the supreme purpose of living by actually subjecting the total personality to the consciousness of contacting with divinity; to grasp for possession of new and better methods of adjusting oneself to the ever-changing situations of living existence; to effect those vital reconstructions and readjustments of one's personal attitudes which are so essential to enhanced insight into everything worth while and real; and to do all of this with an eye single to the glory of God–to breathe in sincerity your Master's favorite prayer, `Not my will, by yours, be done.'"

"This worshipful practice of your Master brings that relaxation which renews the mind; that illumination which inspires the soul; that courage which enables one bravely to face one's problems; that self-understanding which obliterates debilitating fear; and that consciousness of union with divinity which equips man with the assurance that enables him to dare to be Godlike. The relaxation of worship, or spiritual communion as practiced by the Master, relieves tension, removes conflicts, and mightily augments the total resources of the personality. And all this philosophy, plus the gospel of the kingdom, constitutes the new religion as I understand it."

Rodan talks about the transfer of goals from–you might say–easy ones to tough ones, or from animal goals to truly human goals, because truly human goals embrace God, whereas subhuman goals embrace merely human gadgets, you know? And he points out that to do this you've got to have a pretty king-size gas tank.

"The effort toward maturity necessitates work, and work requires energy. Whence the power to accomplish all this? The physical things can be taken for granted. But the Master has well said, ‘Man cannot live by bread alone.’ Granted the possession of a normal body and reasonably good health, we must next look for those lures which will act as a stimulus to call forth man's slumbering spiritual forces. Jesus has taught us that God lives in man; then how can we induce man to release these soul-bound powers of divinity and infinity? How shall we induce men to let go of God that he may spring forth to the refreshment of our own souls while in transit outward and then to serve the purpose of enlightening, uplifting, and blessing countless other souls? How best can I awaken these latent powers for good which lie dormant in your souls? One thing I am sure of: Emotional excitement is not the ideal spiritual stimulus. Excitement does not augment energy; it rather exhausts the powers of both mind and body. Whence then comes the energy to do these great things? Look to your Master. Even now he is out in the hills taking in power while we are here giving out energy. The secret of all this problem is wrapped up in spiritual communion, in worship. From the human standpoint it is a question of combined meditation and relaxation. Meditation makes the contact of mind with spirit; relaxation determines the capacity for spiritual receptivity. And this interchange of strength for weakness, courage for fear, the will of God for the mind of self, constitutes worship. At least, that is the way the philosopher views it."

"When these experiences are frequently repeated, they crystallize into habits, strength-giving and worshipful habits, and such habits eventually formulate themselves into a spiritual character, and such a character is finally recognized by one's fellows as a mature personality. These practices are difficult and time-consuming at first, but when they become habitual, they are at once restful and time-saving. The more complex society becomes, and the more the lures of civilization multiply, the more urgent will become the necessity for God-knowing individuals to form such protective habitual practices designed to conserve and augment their spiritual energies."

I love this one, too.

"It requires intelligence to secure. . ."

It doesn't say prayer here, now.

"It requires intelligence to secure one's share of the desirable things of life. It is wholly erroneous to suppose that faithfulness in doing one's daily work will insure the rewards of wealth. Barring the occasional and accidental acquirement of wealth, the material rewards of the temporal life are found to flow in certain well-organized channels, and only those who have access to these channels may expect to be well rewarded for their temporal efforts. Poverty must ever be the lot of all men who seek for wealth in isolated and individual channels. Wise planning, therefore, becomes the one thing essential to worldly prosperity. Success requires not only devotion to one's work but also that one should function as a part of some one of the channels of material wealth. If you are unwise, you can bestow a devoted life upon your generation without material reward; if you are an accidental beneficiary of the flow of wealth, you may roll in luxury even though you have done nothing worth while for your fellow men."

So much for the Egyptian concept of providence.

Audience: Laughter.

"But life will become a burden of existence unless you learn how to fail gracefully. There is an art in defeat which noble souls always acquire; you must know how to lose cheerfully; you must be fearless of disappointment. Never hesitate to admit failure. Make no attempt to hide failure under deceptive smiles and beaming optimism. It sounds well always to claim success, but the end results are appalling."

"I see in the teachings of Jesus, religion at its best. This gospel enables us to seek for the true God and to find him. But are we willing to pay the price of this entrance into the kingdom of heaven? Are we willing to be born again? to be remade? Are we willing to be subject to this terrible and testing process of self-destruction and soul reconstruction? Has not the Master said: `Whoso would save his life must lose it. Think not that I have come to bring peace but rather a soul struggle'? True, after we pay the price of dedication to the Father's will, we do experience great peace provided we continue to walk in these spiritual paths of consecrated living."

"Now are we truly forsaking the lures of the known order of existence while we unreservedly dedicate our quest to the lures of the unknown and unexplored order of the existence of a future life of adventure in the spirit worlds of the higher idealism of divine reality."

"The religion of Jesus demands living and spiritual experience. Other religion may consist in traditional beliefs, emotional feelings, philosophic consciousness, and all of that, but the teaching of the Master requires the attainment of actual levels of real spirit progression."

He was quite a guy, wasn't he?

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