Saturday, 1 October 2016

The Scourge

"The reason we live in a culture increasingly without faith is not because science has somehow disproved the unprovable, but because the white noise of secularism has removed the very stillness in which it might endure or be reborn".
Andrew Sullivan - I used to be a human being.

Running on empty, but still running as hard as proves possible, we're a race that is progressively leaving some terribly deep and cruel scars.

If we look at the earth, then we've managed to loose, for example, around a tenth of the world's natural wilderness since the 1990's. That's staggering.
It also sounds a large warning about how what we're so often about is running away from a stillness, as Andrew Sullivan notes, that challenges us to be satisfying something more than the hollowing blur of the painfully present, unrelenting in its demands upon us.

Recently, I had a 'luxury' holiday with some of my family, generously paid for by them. Whilst it was certainly an experience, amongst all the scheduled events for our pleasure, we spent an hour playing a game of quoits, which was filled with everything that defined us as people who just enjoyed and loved each other. It was exactly what was needed.

The scourge of our times is that we're so often prevented from becoming something richer, deeper than what a schedule provides (or allows). "Radical" thoughts and opinions on the nature of what defines us are no longer given space to even be raised, much less considered, and that is our tragedy and loss, because when we're "allowed" to be that free, the real treasure begins to be discovered (see my prior post, 'The Conversation'). Candid expression and conversation may not be easy, but it's often the route we need to take.

It's not our immediate choice, but we have to start 'loving the alien' - finding ways to comprehend and then appreciate what is outside of us, because what really counts is so often out of reach of our regular thoughts and opinions. Paul leant that as Saul, breathing nothing but threats and murder, on his furious drive to Damascus. His 'network service' was cut (something that would amount to total tragedy for most of us) and love broke through, turning him into a man who had a passion to share something far deeper than the daily schedule (what his own religion gave him) to everyone.

There is, indeed, a better way, which would allow us to use all this stuff well - not as the be all and end all, but as a means to something deeper.

Paul learned that all the 'stuff' that had motivated him to be so passionate and zealous was actually of no real value, because he'd entirely misunderstood what and where it was meant to be taking him - it was actually driving him in the wrong direction, but thankfully, God wouldn't leave Him there. He wants each of us to exit from the 'me only' tyranny of life into something much more true. Paul was truly 'found' by the excellence of relationship with God amongst us - Jesus Christ. Christ brings to us a new and profound definition of being, something that will change us and, eventually, all of creation, into something defined by true meaning and value. That is how we can use now well - to cultivate something eternally of true value. Don't settle for your treasures being in the superficial - life is meant to be about something far richer!

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