Archive for the ‘Blog’ Category

John 4

Sunday, June 7th, 2015

Everyone who drinks this water will get thirsty again and again. Anyone who drinks the water I give will never thirst—not ever. The water I give will be an artesian spring within, gushing fountains of endless life.

John 4: 13-14

 

What a surprise that the way to stop being thirsty is to discover a spring of water within one that can quench others’ thirst.

How differently would we look at the helping professions if we knew that the greatest help is to enable another to give.

Our need to give love

Friday, June 5th, 2015
In Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, love/belonging, self-esteem and self-actualization come as soon as the basics of food, shelter and safety are met.
 
For adult human beings, belonging comes from sharing a common purpose; self-esteem comes when I know that what I do is valued; even self actualization, which seems to be about me, only works if the self that I become is recognised and respected by a social world.
 
This gives us some primary data through which we can interpret what we meet in our world, which celebrates a spectrum of values, some in line with these needs, and some at odds with them. We will find that we are going with the grain of human nature if we open pathways for self-bestowing, self-giving creativity. We have a lens through which to understand the superficial appeal of stories about life that offer shortcuts: the self-realisation through consumerism lampooned by the Rolling Stones in Satisfaction on the one hand; the promise of ‘systems so perfect that no-one needs to be good’ on the other.
 
Process thought gives the best theological framework for understanding this. It sees our human journey as a response to the divine call to creativity. That this is ‘hard-wired’ into us is no surprise for process theologians, who do not locate God in an transcendent otherness, but in the processes of this world. In process thought, it is the Holy Spirit whose allure to true creaturely fulfilment is at work in the basic needs that Maslow describes.
 
All of this changes the task of ‘mission’. Liberal Christians feel embarrassed by this word — they think it means answering a question that hasn’t been asked, providing a finished picture of the world on the assumption that I know more than the one I am talking to. They easily shrink from the task, forgetting the reality of call and response which is at the heart of human experience of the spirit.
If the longing to creaturely fulfillment is already there in every human being I meet, even if it is covered over, I do not need to insert something that was not there before, but open a channel for my friend to experience what slumbers within him. I will not convey the sense that I know better, because all I know is that the spirit is beckoning this creature into the unique journey of its unfolding. 

Meaning

Thursday, June 4th, 2015

The Scylla and Charbydis of our time is the materialistic picture of the human being one side, which sees man as an ape, or a machine, and the picture of a spiritual world on the other, which is a refuge from earthly reality. Neither does justice to our experience that we are beings who are utterly connected to the reality of the earth, its pain and our responsibility, whilst at the same time our very capacity to be aware of this connection shows us that we are not merely the products of nature. 

Both dangers are a denial of meaning. Man as machine is meaningless, and any feelings that we may have about meaning and purpose are emergent properties, illusions that may have bestowed an evolutionary advantage. The irrational fantasies about the spirit deny pain and responsibility, which renders the most important experiences we have meaningless. 

Prayer

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2015

if we know that our lives are destined for ever greater fullness, creativity, and self giving love, we have a criterion against which we can see the obstacles which we place in our own ways on a journey towards those qualities. Prayer then is a question of seeing ourselves and others in the light of our deepest purpose, and allowing the obstacles to be warmed and transformed by the future that is coming towards us.

two extremes

Saturday, May 30th, 2015

We can be in rebellion against reality, in which case we may take refuge in fantasies of omnipotence. Or we can decide to be victims of reality — in which case we will fantasise that we are powerless.

Both are distractions and maybe refuges from the painful reality that I and only I am responsible for my experience of reality. The only question that is of interest is what in my here and now do I want to do?

The love of God

Tuesday, March 25th, 2014

Adam Kahane builds on Tillich’s work on Power and Love as two fundamental drives in the human being. Power is defined as the drive to self-realisation; love as the drive to harmony, allowing others to fulfill themselves. Each has a generate and degenerate side; power without love degenerates into tyranny; love without  power degenerates into anaemic sentimentality.

What has all this to do with the reality that God is love? That love is the fundamental driving force in the universe, from which all other forces are derived?

God’s drive to self-realisation, if we can be so anthropomorphic, is his deed of creation. His creation is the ultimate possibility for others to realise themselves. So God’s love is never divided in the way that our drives are. We can however see God’s love through the prism of our divided selves, which means that we will project onto him our fantasies of power, and experience his love as wrath; or our fantasies of regression to paradise, in which case we will imagine that he can square the circle of creating a world of creaturely freedom in which the free choices of creatures don’t mean anything.

Freedom

Saturday, July 13th, 2013

When I realise that the reality that I am experiencing is the only one – that I haven’t got it wrong, or right, but that my experience comes from my own choices, which give me a unique opportunity to be creative here and now – then I am aligned to the Universe and can exercise my creativity and freedom. I am astonished to discover how many excuses and refuges I can think of to stop myself from living in this reality.

0lympics and Para|ympics

Sunday, September 2nd, 2012

The 0lympics take experiences and images of initiation and transform them into physical achievements: trials, endurance, dedication, reaching the goal, the rewards, the adulation.
We can see this as a tragic distortion, or as an assertion of the archetype through all the hype.
The Para1ympics take things another step. Here we see the strange contrast of the overly physical athletic achievements with the bodies that are all in some way different from the norm. Now the soul-trials behind the physical ones become clearer. The Paralympics redeem the whole Olympic experience and point if back towards humanity.

The first love

Sunday, September 2nd, 2012

Emil Bock sees the first love, which the Ephesians have forgotten, as the love for the earth – the original impulse towards incarnation, as in Robert Forst’s wonderful poem, the Trial by Existence.

New home for the blog

Sunday, September 2nd, 2012

All the work on Deborah’s new web world inspired me to shift my blog to a self-hosted solution.

Hopefully I’ll get a bit more regular about posting to it again!