I have been to many churches where the worshippers all commented on the beauty of their doctrines. But I haven’t personally observed anyone complaining much about getting sick over these ideas among their fellow churchgoers. I strongly believe that they should be feeling a little ill if they are taking religion seriously!
This situation tells me that many worshippers do not pass to the next step of putting their doctrines and spiritual tenets to a real personal test.
The illness I am talking about is described in Revelation 10:9,10, where the disciple John eats a small scroll or book.
At first, it tastes “sweet,” but later—after it’s been in his stomach for awhile—it begins to have a bitter and sour taste.
Of course, a book that has literally been consumed will cause stomach disorders. But that is not what is being spiritually and symbolically communicated to the reader. It is a deeper lesson on the challenges of genuine spiritual growth.
A book or scroll itself is never sweet—only the ideas it contains. So first, we intellectually pick up on the sweetness of a spiritual teaching (“sweet taste” symbolizes affinity) but later, when we swallow and ruminate over these teachings and find ourselves challenged to apply (digest) them into the very fabric our lives, many of us start to feel real inner discomfort as we begin to see the true extent of our faulty nature.
This is why it is said that the “Truth” often is painful.
My book Swedenborg & Gurdjieff : The Missing Links – Anti-intuitive Essays for Personal Transformation was designed to take readers beyond the sweetness of great spiritual ideas and make them feel appropriately ill (how’s that for positive marketing?).
Spiritual transformation has real rules, restrictions and criteria. Spiritual doctrines would not have been given if the human race didn’t need them for spiritual sustenance.