A piece of an email I sent to Dave yesterday, more on the challenge & comfort theme:
Actually I felt that I was probably unfairly jumping on the wording of the question. (I tried to emphasize that I didn't really know what Idries Shah had said, but that's a poor substitute for actually going and finding out before pontificating about it).
I read what you excerpted with interest. I guess I have the same double response to what he writes that I often have to Zen writings: simultaneously, gratitude for the insistence on immediate experience and immediate practice, and disgruntlement on behalf of myself and all weaker vessels. "Let them not challenge to themselves a strength they have not," wrote Richard Hooker, answering the Puritans, "lest they lose the comfortable support of that weakness which indeed they have." We're not all redoubtable yogins, ready to plunge into the wilderness. And nobody (except buddhas, if there are such things) is *always* a redoubtable yogin, not even, I imagine, the redoubtable yogins. A church should be a place of refuge, as well as a place of challenge.