Monday, May 23, 2011


There are many things we need to recover that we have lost, and many things we need to recover from. John O'Donohue, in his book The Four Elements, contrasts the devastating outcome of religion taking fire and using it as a means to terrorize and control people, in the form of burning people at the stake and then in the form of the fear of eternal burning/punishment....with the nature of fire and how it is used in scripture to guide and warm and ultimately to transfigure and make new.

Then he describes the damage caused by the frightened functionaries of religion (the opposite of leaders with vision) and their attempts to protect God which has led to  the creation of answers...dead arrangements that never allow people to be captured by the greatest question of the universe. It leaves people with nothing but inferior images, false notions, and banal answers, something God refuses to be defined by, and institutions made by human hands that can never contain the presence and the wildness and danger of the Trinity.

And then John ends the chapter FIRE with this.....

"The true perspective on God is to be gleaned from the poet-carpenter Jesus. The idea of divinity with which he worked was powerful, passionate and liberating. If we could but retrieve the idea of God that Jesus had we would revolutionize dead religion. His thirty years of solitary work in the territory of spirit gave him a sense of God that had a clarity and intimacy powerful enough to cut through the atrophied legalism of contemporary religion."


Sue said...

Beautiful post, Kent. Thank you for sharing.

While I read, I felt this warmth radiating through my heart. Like fire only not so hot :P

I love the qualities of fire that are used in the Bible to describe God working through situations to help burn off the dross. I think of the fire-ravaged areas I have driven through in the past months. The new green fuzzy growth up the trunks. The frenetic bursting through the ground of eucalypts. The very act of fire is what bursts open the seeds to create new life after the ravage.

Kent said...

Isn't it wonderful Sue