Monday, November 30, 2009

SELF AGGRANDIZEMENT


In this country where we live, where having a "braggable" life seems to be high on most people's list, and that often being tied to money and career...the quest for significance and what it leads people to do has a way of sneaking up on you and biting you in the arse before you even know what has happened.

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.

At times it all can still leave me so annoyed. I hate it and what it does to people I care deeply about and yet I understand how easy it is for us to find ourselves caught up in it, even myself, and unaware that we are caught up in it.

The excerpt from Richard Rohr's book, 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.

"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."

4 comments:

Scott said...

Hey Kent,
I love reading Richard Rohr, I just finished reading “The Naked Now “very good, it’s one of those books that I will return to often because there is so much to contemplate on. I’m curious do you practice centering prayer? I have done a little bit and after reading this book I have a greater curiosity and interest in exploring this kind of prayer.
Scott

Kent said...

No Scott, no centering prayer or contemplative prayer.

I am though learning how to quiet my mind of all the clutter that is at work attempting to keep the destructive script in place so as to keep me there.

Scott said...

How are you quieting your mind of all the clutter...?

Kent said...

abandoning the destructive script. I saw it for what it is and now refuse to listen to it. 2005 and 2006 were like my mind being ran through a meat grinder. The voices promoting the script in all it's manifestations began to just sound ridiculous and the simplicity of the gospel came flooding in.