How can we excuse the Course for making gaffes?

Q. In Chapter 3 of the Text, the Course says, “The Bible tells you to know yourself .” You have correctly identified that this comes from the Oracle of Delphi. My question is, If the Course is to be respected as a guide in correction (on any level) how can we excuse ‘it’ (Jesus) for making such a gaffe? As an actor in my youth a seasoned director would often say, ‘the strength of the play is the strength of the acting, any weakness in any of the acting weakens the whole play’. Likewise in a guide to truth we would expect solid reliable information, any errors weaken the whole guide, no?

A. I completely understand what you are saying. There are actually a lot of little inaccuracies (though perhaps none more glaring than this one), especially in the early part of the dictation, where more specifics were communicated. And these can easily shake our confidence in the validity of the material as a whole.

I think these doubts, however, can be eased by recognizing what a delicate dance the channeling process is. One day I might do a detailed study of this, but the short version is that there are a great many remarks that Jesus makes to Helen early on about the delicacy of his communication with her. And these comments, I believe, hold the answer to your question.

From these remarks, we get the impression that he and Helen are, in a sense, doing the tango together, with him as the lead. As such, her success in following his lead is based on her general dancing ability, her practice and experience with her partner (Jesus), and her willingness vs. resistance to him. All of these determine how well she can perfectly follow his lead.

What makes this even more complicated is that her dancing is taking place at an unconscious level. This means her conscious mind is not the dancer, but is more like a mere spectator (though one whose attitudes influence the dance). As a result, by the time she hears what she is to write down, the dance has already taken place.

The delicacy of this process comes out in many places. For instance, several times Jesus corrects something she heard, saying that he actually said something quite different. One time she heard “Miracles are cobwebs of iron” when he actually said, “A miracle reawakens the awareness that the spirit, and not the body, is the altar of truth.” And she had three different tries at that final version!

Another time, Helen objected to a grammatical error: “the use of a plural verb with a properly singular subject.” But Jesus said in response, “You made the error [clearly at an unconscious level], because you are not feeling loving, and so you want me to sound silly so you won’t have to pay attention.”

Several times when he quoted the Bible to her he would note that what she heard was “not in correct Biblical phrasing.” One time he said, “The quotation is not quite right, but this doesn’t matter.”

He once remarked that, in a certain section, it seemed as if “many ideas were condensed into relatively few pages.” But what had actually happened is that he had “not been forced to dispel miscreations throughout,” so the resulting section was more concise than earlier sections had been.

These corrections, however, slowly gave way to praise for her hearing him correctly. This especially occurred when she had just taken down wording she would not have chosen to use. For instance, she once wrote down “Internal integration within the self will not suffice to correct the lack fallacy, but it will correct the need fallacy.” Jesus then said, “Thank you for writing this as given.” And then he began to say, “Sometimes word repetition…” Helen left the sentence unfinished, but the idea is clearly that she herself would not have chosen to say “need fallacy” right after “lack fallacy.”

Apparently, Helen herself needed reassuring about the errors that were clearly leaking through. Here is what he told her:

Contradictions in My words means lack of understanding, or scribal failures, which I will make every effort to correct. But they are still not crucial.

This, then, is how we should view the scribal failures: They are not crucial. Or, to paraphrase what we quoted earlier: the details are not always quite right, but this doesn’t matter. The truth that he gave to Helen got through in spite of errors. In fact, this was a message he gave to her more than once regarding her scribal errors. And I think that is the message we should take away. True, the Course is not error-free. However, I suspect that in terms of receiving his wisdom, Helen was able to tango with Jesus better than anyone else. And because of that, his wisdom did get through, with a clarity that, in my view, we have not seen the likes of—and will probably not see the likes of again anytime soon. I think, therefore, we should be grateful for that clarity, and not worry too much about the noise that came along in the transmission.

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