My last post was a by-product of how I am feeling right now. It's a weird and strange place to be. I feel at peace on one level and at the same time I feel really annoyed. I'm annoyed at the reality that we all seem to be so susceptible to the very things that keep us from finding love and freedom and living there. And the result created in our lives in light of this is that it's impossible for us to live in a way that honors what we know as The Golden Rule.
Allowing the things of this world to allure us with the promises of security, satisfaction, sense of worth, value and significance, will surely be the very thing that keeps us from "knowing" security and living aware of our worth, value and significance. Accepting the world's substitute will set us up to always be faked out and it always sets us against one another...always...while creating justifications that make us feel okay with the violations.
It's what has me so annoyed. I hate it and yet I personally understand how easy it is for us to find ourselves caught up in it and unaware that we are caught up in it.
The excerpt from Hope Against Darkness struck me when I read it a few years ago and has stuck with me. The peace mentioned, I feel comes from the life in the Spirit...the annoyance seems to come from not being able to remain there completely yet.
I've highlighted the example of Saint Francis again because it just feels relevant.
Saint Francis stepped out into a world being recast by the emerging market economy. He lived amid a decaying old order in which his father was greedily buying up small farms of debtors, moving quickly into the new entrepreneurial class. Francis stepped into a Church that seemed to have been largely out of touch with the masses. But he trusted a deeper voice and a bigger truth. He sought one clear center and moved out from there.
The one clear centerpiece was the Incarnate Jesus. He understood everything else from that personalized reference point. Like Archimedes, Francis found his one firm spot on which to stand and from which he could move his world. He did this in at least three clear ways.
First, he walked into the prayer depths of his own tradition, as opposed to mere religious repetition of old formulas. Second, he sought direction in the mirror of creation itself, as opposed to mental and fabricated ideas or ideals. And, most radically, he looked to the underside of his society, to the "community of those who have suffered," for an understanding of how God transforms us. In other words, he found depth and breadth---and a process to keep you there.
The depth was an inner life where all shadow, mystery and paradox were confronted, accepted and forgiven. Here he believed God could be met in fullness and truth. The breadth was the actual world itself, a sacramental universe. It was not the ideal, the churchy or the mental, but the-right-in-front-of-you-and-everywhere----the actual as opposed to the ideal.
And, finally, he showed us the process of staying there---the daring entrance into the world of human powerlessness.