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Thursday, June 27, 2013

The Thread

There's a thread you follow.It goes among
things that change. But it doesn't change.

People wonder about what you are pursuing.  
You have to explain about the thread.
But it is hard for others to see.
While you hold it you can't get lost.
Tragedies happen; people get hurt
or die and you suffer and get old.
Nothing you can do can stop time's unfolding.
You don't ever let go of the thread.

If you wonder what "the thread" might be - Richard Rohr says: "My words for the thread that Stafford speaks of are the True Self - the immortal diamond that we have been mining here. Your True Self is who you are, and always have been in God, and at its core, it is love itself. Love is both who you are and who you are still becoming, like a sunflower seed that becomes its own sunflower."
- Immortal Diamond p176

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Labyrinth Experience

If you are interested in a Labyrinth "walk" without leaving your desk try this lovely experience from the Gratefulness website. It includes places to pause with a beautiful picture and some words to reflect on. Many other aspects of the Gratefulness website are well worth exploring too.

Below is a photo of a Labyrinth laid out in St Matthew's Church in Auckland over Easter one year.

Monday, June 17, 2013

It's not rocket science really...

I have to confess I've never been deeply into Augustine (that's 4th century St Augustine of Hippo  I'm talking about) apart from the usual general knowledge gained in theological study.  But in another blog I follow (Red Dress Theology) I was very interested to learn some of the things Augustine said about scripture. Here's an excerpt from Chelle's discussion of Augustine's On Christian Doctrine with a couple of bits underlined by me:

"Interestingly, he [Augustine] says that because true knowledge of God is held internally in the human person, the scripture is only a tool that God uses to stir up that truth within individual human beings and scripture is, therefore, theoretically unnecessary if God decides to reveal Godself directly to a person’s ‘heart’.

Book 3 suggests strategies for interpreting ambiguous passages in scripture: it’s not rocket science really, but it’s surprising how much we need to be reminded of these simple strategies when we encounter confusion in our understanding of the bible.  First and foremost, Augustine argues, we must work out what is figurative and what is literal.  Common sense says that if the text is nonsense when taken literally, then it must be figurative.  The rule of faith suggests that if all knowledge helps us to love God and our neighbour – if a text taken literally cannot lead us into love, then it must be figurative!  If the text still doesn’t make sense, then we look at context, including the immediate context of the passage within it’s text, the whole canonical context, and the context of ourselves as reader.  Ultimately, there is nothing in scripture which does not lead towards the double love of God and neighbour, so that is the ultimate standard by which all interpretations must abide, for love is the telos, the goal of scripture, just as love is the goal of everything God does, is and communicates to God’s creation!"

If you want to read the whole post click here. Thanks Chelle!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

A 90 second video is worth an hour in therapy... (maybe!)

Watch this and see if you laugh, cry or ponder deeply - maybe all three!

Thanks to Paul at Prodigal Kiwi for putting me on to this.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Mistaken Identity

In his book The Immortal Diamond: The search for our true self, Richard Rohr re-tells a short story called Revelation written by Flannery O'Connor. Rohr says:

"In that short story her main character, Ruby Turpin, a good but righteous Christian, has a vision as she stands in a pigpen. Ruby is a classic Christian False Self, who finally looks out and beyond her self-made holiness (her "pigpen") to her first glimpse of her True Self. In the story she describes what she sees as a "vast horde of souls" rumbling toward heaven: poor whites, black people in white robes, and "battalions of freaks and lunatics shouting and clapping and leaping like frogs." Bringing up the rear, she says, is a "tribe of people like her" who "had always had a little of everything" and were marching "behind the others with great dignity, accountable as they always had been for good order and common sense and respectable behavior ... Yet she could see by their shocked and altered faces that even their virtues were being burned away." There it is, as only a master teacher can teach it. O'Connor presents the False Self in its final shattering moments. One only hopes that Ruby can surrender and begin to sing "off-key" like the rumbling hordes. She has suffered from a massive case of mistaken identity all her life, just as we all do, but hers was bolstered by a strong "Christian" False Self. Religion can significantly delay the emergence of our True Self. I have been a Priest for forty-two years and can say that from solid experience.

The True Self does not really "go to heaven" as much as live there already. It is indeed part of the "vast horde rumbling toward heaven". It lives in the big Body now, puts little trust in its private virtue, and feels no undue surprise at its personal weakness. Ruby is just opening up to heaven for the first time, and she is a little shocked and surely disappointed that so many "others" are there." end of Rohr quote.


If you want another approach to "mistaken identity" from The Gospel of Thomas - with a wonderful personal reflection and photo by Blogger Diane Walker - click here. Hint - click on the reflection/photo for a larger, easier to read view.