I want to be subversive. I want to undermine. I want to transform. I want to lead.
Maybe it was all the stories of my youth about the prophets that were to rise up in the last days and bring about the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. Maybe it was the prospect of becoming one of the missionaries that brought religion to the God-less Commies. Maybe it was the belief that there would be “one, mighty and strong” in the last days, besides Joseph Smith that has subsequently given rise to countless fundamentalist sects. Maybe it was all those days tracting in a foreign land and in a foreign tongue. Maybe it was the belief in personal revelation. Maybe I shouldn’t have read Machiavelli. Maybe it was the belief that the Glory of God was Intelligence, or in other words, light and truth.
So I’m sitting here on a Sunday morning wanting to proselytize and subvert, but I have no congregation and no following. I have only words, so I’m writing to who?
Why is it that the crazy’s always have a Manifesto? Am I a Ted Kazinsky (Unabomber) or a Brian David Mitchell (Elizabeth Smart’s kidnapper)? Or do the sane have Manifestos, too? Were Marx and Engels sane when they put forth the Communist Manifesto? How about Andre Breton’s Surrealist Manifestos? The whole idea of a Manifesto seems to suggest at least a bit of un-hingedness – like standing on the chair and jumping up and down and saying “Damn It Everyone! Listen to ME!”
The Manifesto’s Thirteen Articles of Manifestment
1. We believe we have no clue about God.
2. We believe that we aren’t quite sure how to define sin.
3. We believe in the metaphoric, but not the literal, significance of the Atonement, i.e. death and resurrection; life and crucifixion.
4. We believe all is trumped by compassion and empathy, regardless of what you believe.
5. We believe in personal freedom and expression.
6. We believe that the organization of the Internet – chaotic and shattered – is a simulacrum of life and we believe we should do our part to put as much of Humpty Dumpty back together again as is humanely possible.
7. We believe that in proving contraries truth is made manifest or in more modern digital terms, organizing the digital 1's and 0's of binary code, we can create everything, pro- and anti-, yes and no, black and white and it is all still 1's and 0's.
8. We believe in the power of ongoing discussion to refine, change and improve things.
No punctuation or sentence structure requirement.
Nothing is written in stone.
9. We believe that everything can and should be questioned.
10. We believe that only on rare occasions can a belief be attacked head on. We believe that if you want to change a person’s belief structure you must start from the fundamental contradiction of that belief and patiently attack that point, arguing from the familiar and foundational to be truly effective and prod along the differentiation.
11. We believe that belief structures can be ranked in a hierarchy, based on the extent of the belief structures ability to be inclusive.
12. We believe that we should be active politically and in our communities to bring about the changes required by abiding by the Manifestments.
13. We believe in being honest, true, benevolent, and in doing good to all people; indeed we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul ( for the most part) – We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.
Growth means adding, becoming more inclusive. Rigid belief structures are rife with contradictions on the most fundamental levels. Exploring the contradictions in one’s own belief structure opens new horizons and understanding. Humility insures an openness to change of belief. Arrogant certitude insures a steadiness of belief. In the middle of the humble and the arrogant, resides the transformative truth.
We are to be our own Savior. We bask in the paradise of our ignorance. We agonize in the Gethsemane of our contradictions. We crucify ourselves over our mistakes. We are resurrected to an improved more integrated existence in which the Tree of Knowledge and the Tree of Life have intertwined a few more of their roots.
And we start the process all over again.