Archive for April, 2010

Centre for Social and Therapeutic Renewal

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

I’ve been busy supporting the team that’s trying to bring about something new in Park Attwood. It’s an exciting project to use the grounds their for something which is both new and a continuation of what went before. This is their website, where you can find out more.

Technology

Friday, April 9th, 2010

Technology, spirituality and Michaelic community building

In prechristian times there was a technology devoted largely to getting human beings into contact with the spiritual world. This was the gift of Lucifer. Priests anticipated future technology as a counterbalance by cultivating the very Ahrimanic arts of measuring and controlling – see the temple records from ancient Egypt, which have an awful lot of detail about the levels of the Nile etc.

Nowadays we can’t depend on the priestly caste to provide the counterbalance. If the whole thrust of our technology is to involve us in the earth, the counterbalance is art (gift of Lucifer).  Now however there’s a quantum leap: CIT takes us into a realm ‘below nature’ as RS describes it. We experience this, or at least we experience that different laws obtain: think of the difference between a film and a play. The film takes us outside of the natural. The play creates an illusion, but it is governed by the laws of time and space. Because the film is a product of many hours of filming, refilming and editing, and what we see only provides the illusion of continuity in time and space, it has removed itself from the laws that govern our every day experience. This is not supposed to imply that films are ‘bad’ – anyway rarely a useful characterisation, but it is important to characterise how they work.

My Ludlow post was about the emergent intelligence behind all the machines, and the purpose we can experience. I quoted the rancher from Fast Food Nation as evidence that there is such an intelligence and that it / he has a purpose.  And here we might arrive at the hypothesis of a third power working through Ahriman, even if RS hadn’t already presented us with one; what starts to shimmer through a hundred thousand isolated phenomena goes beyond Ahriman’s own intention, of burying us in the material world, which we can see as a great contribution to our freedom.  We see an emergent system bent on control, suppression and destruction. And the counterforce to this not a bit more Lucifer or Ahriman, but what was cultivated between them and beyond them: Christ. Not Christ, the property of Christians, but Christ the power of true humanity blessed and raised by the divine; the power of life in death, the power of belief. The power to look steadily at the counterimage, in order to see the truth.

Tomorrow in the conference we’ll talk about how we meet the shadow-sides of technology. Hopefully I’ll have more to say after that!

One of the participants at the Trigonos conference told us about TED. Seems very interesting.

Easter

Saturday, April 3rd, 2010

But every physical event has its spiritual counterpart. Inasmuch as the blood flowed from the wounds on Golgotha, a corresponding spiritual event was taking place. It came about at that moment that rays of light streamed for the first time from the earth into universal space, where there had formerly been none; so that we have to picture to ourselves rays of light, created at that moment, streaming out from the earth into space. The earth had grown darker and darker in the course of time, until the event of Golgotha. Then the blood flows and the earth begins to radiate!

Had some being in pre-Christian times been able to behold the earth clairvoyantly from a distant planet, he would have observed how the earth’s aura lost its radiance by degrees, being darkest at the time preceding the event of Golgotha, and how it then shone forth in new colours. The deed of Golgotha suffused the earth with astral light which by degrees will become etheric and then physical. For every being in the world is in process of evolution. The present sun was once a planet; and just as the old Saturn evolved into the Sun, so our Earth, now a planet, is evolving into a Sun. The first impetus towards becoming a Sun was given to our earth when the blood flowed from the wounds of the Redeemer on Golgotha. The earth then began to glow, first astrally and visible only to the seer; but in future ages the astral light will become physical light and the earth will be a luminous body —a Sun-body.
Rudolf Steiner, The Gospel of St John… (GA 112) Lecture XIII

The earth is the place of freedom. It is the far-off country, the place of losing & finding, of dying and becoming. The earth’s story and our story are inextricably linked. The earth needed to become dark so that we could get lost. We need the light to find our way back.

Knowing

Thursday, April 1st, 2010

Kevin made a great comment on my “Knowing Christ” post, and my reply burst the bounds, so here it is as a new post.

I just recently had a discussion about whether the gospels are objective fact or ‘just stories’. Well I’m sure there was a reality which the gospels refer to, but it’s a big question how I would receive it if it weren’t clad in human language, in images – if it weren’t ‘story’. So Jesus tells the story about God – in fact you could say as God’s Word he is the story about God. Some theologians go from this to concluding that there is nothing more than story – asking ‘what do Christians believe?’ is the same as asking ‘what stories do they tell?’ Then it’s as unreal to ask what God is ‘really like’, beyond the stories, as it is to ask where the father of the prodigal son lived. The prodigal is true, even though no-one thinks it was historical fact.

Stanley Hauerwas says the moment you claim more, that your tradition is in possession of some kind of objective or absolute truth, you are on a path that leads to war.
But – but – but… I’m reminded of the title of Steiner’s first work about Christianity, Christianity as mystical fact. Somehow we have to encompass a reality that is at once mystical, ie inner and fact.
So there’s also a question of the kind of knowing. Kevin brought me a step further with his Eckhardt quote – thanks for that! (incidentally, a quick websearch to find the source took me to this lovely post of a homily on the Prodigal Son) The kind of knowing we’re talking about here is not reductive – in the sense of saying: if we’ve understood the story, we’ve got to the essence, and we can throw away the packaging. People sometimes – understandably – speak like that about the Act of Consecration of Man: Why seven candles? as if it were all an elaborate code. It’s a knowing that changes the knower and the known, like Adam knowing Eve. It’s not knowing about, but truly knowing. And such knowing is creative – it bears fruit in a new reality, just like procreation. And that’s how I understand Meister Eckardt – God has bound up his further fruitfulness with our journey. The homily above reminds us that the prophets bring the beautiful image of God looking for faithless Israel like a husband seeking his faithless wife. And of course the imagery of the wedding as a figure for the love of God for man, which runs through the whole Bible, implies a union and the birth of something new.
So we could think of coming from church to have tea with our atheist friend, who challenges us – why do you bother doing that? can you know that God exists? – which is actually a question about God. And if we’ve taken communion, and we’re feeling up to the challenge, we might answer: no, but I do know him!