This story of the Rabbi quizzing Jesus, tells us that it is very difficult to understand things that we do not have personal experience of. As a gay man I often feel that there are barriers that keep us from other people who do not have that experience of LGBT. We think we know others but unless we have a deeper spiritual experience of compassion, where we feel to connected to others, like a deep empathy, and you can see and understand people like yourself, how could it be otherwise. People can be kind helpful and even celebratory of LBGT and quite genuinely so, but a gay man in straight company I am never treated quite the same way as the straight world treats itself. Some things are beyond the experience of others, nuances not understood. Not that I am pleading a special LGBT case just using as an illustration of how separate people can be from each other, and for minorities and outsiders often isolated and misunderstood.
But I love here that Jesus tells us that actually clergy do not have some kind of experience of heaven, as only the son of man can only have this as only He is born of heaven. So we all have our own experience and path to make of ourselves in this world, which will have differently degrees of focus on the material world or the spiritual world. This section in effect both embraces diversity and recognises there is a deeper spiritual world, but not one we can fully experience as humans. So it sets the context that we cannot be arrogant about our personal beliefs as we cannot possibly know heaven on earth without being born of heaven. However, I love from my own experience that we can enjoy through our own prism deep mystical experiences, a little taste of heaven I hope.
Here’s our version of:
Jesus’s Guidance to Clergy 2017
Section 4 – Take care with Bible interpretation
4.1 Be careful the Bible is a contradictory mix of stories. Reporters did their best to write bible stories correctly at the time, and it is therefore relevant to that time, and needs careful interpretation for later generations as humanity changes. NB The Bible has got tampered with by well meaning but not always well guided people too, human politics and cultural norms is a powerful influence, but not what I said or meant. That leads me to my next point
4.2 None of you have been to heaven, so please don’t try to make up or imagine what it is like. Many people including non clergy will have some insight about love and heaven. However, you don’t know unless you were born of heaven what it is like so please don’t persecute people based on your own views dressed up as guidance from heaven.
4.3 Remember I get to see the damage you do to other humans in your zeal. I know being clergy is not easy, but when in doubt, which will be most of the time, try and find your heart centre, feel some unconditional love and I think you will find the right wisdom comes to you.