Forum Comments

Questions about Suffering
In Practical transformation
Joe de Swardt
Aug 29, 2022
This is absolutely lovely! I agree with this wholeheartedly. Jesus, the God-man, could not enter into unholiness. How can God of pure brilliance enter utter darkness? These are incompatible. But pure brilliance can enter into essentially pure goodness, however, misunderstood and therefore perverted. Therefore the original sin cannot mean that humans are rotten all through, or that the cosmos is bad. How can God incarnate into that? How can God move around in that? God made creation by breaking the eternal before silence. The moment God spoke, the words that came out of God established a space outside of that eternal oneness. Existential to God was now a space. God's very words are substantial. So when I say light, it is a mere illusion of something else. When God says 'Light' then the very words establish the very thought, design and fullness of what was said. How can God speak just illusion as we do? God's being extends out of God into the very word that proceeds out of God. What is spoken is not God but it is the substance of God. It came from God and existed in God (before God spoke it) and is the very outflow and extension of God. It is a seed. But it is a creature or creation and not the creator. The Creator retains exclusivity. Therefore it is not pantheistically that all is god. Rather all is from God, by God, for God and essentially God (having emerged from God as a flow of utterance). Only in such a world can enter Jesus. Maybe wrongly, or naively, I think of the original sin as simply that state of existence that does not see or pay attention to God. It is a form of blindness, being dead to this illumination of God all around. Humans living in this un-relationship that is all around us, sightless of God in all and all in God, invent and live in a world 'as if God is not there'. So it is life 'unwired'. Therefore, it cannot help itself but pervert meaning, act dysfunctional and create discordantly. It is life isolated. It is a lonely self. What will be shaken and judged is this disassociated effluent of human works, not the birds, the sun and the sky. This will be refreshed and unwrapped from the dullness imposed to not blind us further, or we would not move a millimetre without falling down in awe to worship all we see around us in unstoppable idolatry. God veiled all so that we can function so that we can see God. But, now we can start to have our sight restored. Then we see the unveiling of all the cosmos around us. As the divine in all and all in this divine astonished us.
1
Questions about Suffering
In Practical transformation
Joe de Swardt
Aug 19, 2022
We also suffer beyond our inward and existential life, our practical life is fraught. These are some initial thoughts of practical engagement, and its struggles. Let us assume for a moment that there are two primary spheres: God-made sphere, human-made sphere. The God-made sphere includes everything you've probably already imagined: The invisible world of non-corporeal angels and creatures. The intangible world of virtues and valuables. The physical creation of organic and inorganic things The various relationships and relational order assigned to govern all of the above. The human sphere includes, among possible others, our humanly created stuff and all the relationships and relational orders we come up to govern this: Philosophical systems: Politics, economics, theology, culture and other worldview stimuli. Practical systems: Government, investment, banking, trade, health, planning, education, agriculture, and other means of delivery. Practical products (informed by the systems of philosophy and delivered via practical systems, utilising the God-sphere): Cities, buildings, cars, vehicles, bank accounts, insurance, ploughs, wheat, bread, etc. How are we to engage? The God-sphere ultimately makes most sense once we are 'born from above'; it is spiritually discerned and experientially encountered, as we see God as God is through faith. But it is mysterious, too big for just our mental reason and logic, and requires a lot of healthy, inspired, holy imagination and trust-based engagement. Where does it fail: The degree to which we remain visually impaired, failing to see and attribute God's presence and authorship, we fall into ignorance that leads to idolatry. Idolatry is the biggest issue. When people utilise the God-sphere, but without God, they miss the endowment, context and value of what they use, which immediately results in perversion or corruption. Human disassociation from God makes the human-sphere intrinsically dysfunctional. It is broken. As a broken sphere, it exploits, ravages, oppresses and disappoints. The sphere then lacks the transcendence and immanence that is true to it. What then governs it is power, covetousness and darkness, not Light and Life. This fuels lust, fear and obfuscation. We become defensive and worn-out. What is born from eternity becomes only temporal, a single-use commodity to be used and discarded. God calls some to work in the God-Sphere, to teach, preach, prophecy, study, examine, paint and muse over. The primary objective is to entice humans to look beyond the veil and discover - simultaneous spiritual-natural enlightenment. If this enlightenment process becomes overly spiritual, it becomes religion. If, on the other hand, it becomes excessively naturalistic, it becomes idolatrous and occultic. But, only a few people can be engaged in this full-time, maybe nobody should? And these days, the religious and the natural are split, lacking a cohesive single integrated understanding. Science sees itself as the sole arbiter of the natural, and the religious denounce the natural as destined for destruction. The rest of us are called to the human-sphere. This means we are called by God to enter into the human-sphere and to interact with it. We go into all of the 'cosmos' and order it through talking, doing and reconnecting it to the rule of God. This is called the great commission, but in fact is the great omission. For two-thousand years we seemed to have neglected the human-sphere, driven out by the enlightenment, split off by Plato, if our foregoers had not already retreated to their monasteries long ago. Right now, in 2022, we find it in terrible condition. The master of the house went away, and the wicked servants partied neglectfully. These fields are hardly tended, the pasture is overgrazed, desertifying, the soil is dead, and the rivers dry. People fly-tipped all sorts of junk everywhere, the fences are down, and the flock is scattered. What a mission, what a mess. Our lament is this: · May the Master take out and beat the wicked servants soon – judgement is the Lords and He will repay (this helps us not usurp God in this) · May the Lord of the field send more workers! (Then we immediately offer ourselves) · May the Lord return. (Now to this desolation, soon in fullness) As soon as we engage the human-sphere we find that we fight the following: Ourselves: We are a problem as far as we are carnally minded, egoistic, and living out of the false 'self'. We are a work in progress and still faulty in the doing. We cultivate our souls, and we do it with trustworthy others. Others: The people around us are similar to ourselves and sometimes less or more messed up - an unreliable bunch. We need to look beyond what we see in others, find what God sees, and call that out of them through words and deeds. Culture: Sometimes, long after people are no longer around, the culture of what those people left behind lingers influentially, mainly as a barrier. Constructs: People and cultures give birth to constructs (companies, clubs, charities, churches, etc.) The problem with constructs is that they are not human and have zero humanity. The construct is utterly immune to incarnation and therefore cannot and does not exhibit the fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, mercy, self-control) or creativity or beauty. God does not live in buildings made by human hands and stone. It is a soulless thing and an instrument of oppression. If the brand or company is bigger than the employees, then its customers will be exploited and oppressed. Constructs always transcend and usurp people in the end. We swapped the family, the household, and the body motif for the construct, which was never going to work. Dark spirits: Demons make nests out of our brokenness, others open to them, culture and constructs. These then rule and destroy through these nests by taking occupation, causing division and darkness. This occupation sows weeds and poison. (Personally, I do not believe that humans have a spirit. We are a living soul-body. But we are a temple. God's Spirit can live in us or some other pretender. Whichever then is joined to energise and govern our living soul-body.) Mystery: God's ways are not our ways, His thoughts are not our thoughts, and His plans do not need our endorsement. God sees time and events with ultimate intelligence. He plans and executes His effective rule and plan with levels of complexity that we simply cannot fathom. By close relationship with God, we can see dimly, as through a veil. How do we progress and become fruitful then? We play, and we obey. God loves us to be creative, explore and originate to a point that He then calls on us to listen, learn from all that play and then obey. Playing is God’s pedagogy, but obedience is His Kingdom. We acknowledge that God is simply more intelligent, better, more informed, brighter, etc., than a human is different from a microbe. We stop trying to be in control. God never gives us any power or authority, but says all power and authority is His, we go forth in that realisation. We become yielded in our creativity - less wildfire, more creativity from a submitted soul. We stop trying to know it all - we learn that children the Father lead ask not where they go; love need not know. We become governed. Spiritual exercises of fasting, if we are greedy, giving when we are covetous, service when we are controlling, prayer if we are dislocated, the bible if we are dry and stupid, silence if we monopolise, sleep if we are too busy, Shabbat when we are empty, yielded when we rush out, etc. God’s gym is full of equipment, knock yourself out, get fit or you won’t make the race. We love. We love God, Who loves us, so that we can love ourselves, so that we can love our families, so that we can love our neighbours, so that we can love even our enemies. Love favours us engaging broken people, cast out their demons, heal them, and introduce them to God. This starts by at least praying, then being exemplary, manifesting God's power, and then only talking. We ask for love to be perfected in us, individually and corporately. We build a fresh wineskin. The construct is always demonic. We tend to the fields and prepare the house for the Owner. We form a new culture based on God with us that honours and depends on God. We prophesy against the constructs, culture and lies as far as it is oppressive and exploitative. We declare the defeat of all fake powers that assume what is only the Lords. We work in this lamentable condition of the fields (let's assume for now that the house is the church, the fields the market), and no doubt, it requires much pioneering work, sweat, struggle and toil. We must work with weapons in our hands, listening to a constant stream of reviling from without and impatient doubting from within. We require discipline to keep firmly to our graft into Jesus and the Spirit of God that entered us to turn us into a holy temple. Work and the workplace are simply how we live and influence from the God-sphere into the human-sphere and make it on earth as it is in heaven.
2
0
Questions about Suffering
In Practical transformation
Joe de Swardt
Aug 18, 2022
What are the main channels that feed the dislocated self? One: 'There is no me when there's no other.' We know the hypothetical no man is an island saying. Imagine a human that was born, the last human on earth. Raised by machines, this person has never encountered any other person of its species and kind. Imagine you are that person. Who would you think you are? What will be your self-image? The African philosophy of ubuntu states that no human is born a person. The human becomes a person only in a community. The interaction matures the personhood; how the human 'see' this surrounding community, how it learns how this community 'see' them. Out of this sight evolves a person. What is a community? Maybe community is one of the most defiled words in our vocabulary. Be that so, but let us define community as our neighbour: those near and dear to us; those near but not yet dear to us; and those unfortunately near to us but not dear at all. We learn from all our interactions with these much about ourselves. The mirror of the other signals us daily. The problem is that the person of the other distorts this mirror's lens. We get an impure image. The question is, how much distortion and how critical is that distortion? Even the minutest error introduces a flaw that can become a significant personality distortion over many years. We feel this most with our family of origin. Primarily, our parents loved us. But imperfectly. These imperfections may rise as a mountain in our 'self'. The wounds caused by this imperfect love scar deeply. How many of us need years of loving therapy or counsel to unpick this? What we learn is that it was false. The 'self' formed out of this falsehood is false. Two: We learn about ourselves from our successes and failures. Imagine all six-foot-two inches of me put on a tutu and ballet shoes at the tender age of 55, with my current post-covid pot belly. What lies ahead is the understanding that I will not be any good at ballet. No matter how willfully, determinedly and obsessively I try. I am too tall, too fat and too old. I hear someone say: "You'll never know till you try it, dude!" while they dream of the YouTube hits they will get when the flawed attempts go viral. Many of us think we are God's gift because we succeeded. Others that we are rubbish because we failed. Most of us develop weird schizoid inner contradictions. We are a mess of fail-success feedback loops that gets distilled down from all the circumstances and conditions to a self-narrative that says you are the stuff or you are crap. We proceed with hubris where we previously succeeded and reluctantly where we once failed. What has success and failure got to do with any of it? Famously, Thomas Edison failed and failed and failed until he did not fail. Similarly, we see high-flying successes plundering into spectacular ignominy. Three: We learn by situations, circumstances and environmental factors. Someone born into a wealthy, affluent society may believe they are entitled to be heard, respected and considered. Someone of much greater ability, intellect or personal quality may think that themselves inferior because of a modest upbringing, because of attending a back-water school, or any other image of modesty imprinted on themself. Success or validation from a widely resourced society cannot compare to modest success in a dysfunctional and unresourced society lacking in all the institutions. Environment signifies. Imagine if we form a sense of 'self' at either of these extremes ends of this spectrum? What a dangerous folly. What reflections of self will a person gain from living through and surviving a war, false imprisonment, bankruptcy due to an economic downturn, failure to summit Everist because of a bad case of Nepali food poisoning? Or of years inside of an abusive marriage. Or a preacher telling you that God needs martyrs - and you look the part? Imagine growing up in a society that discounts and discriminates against you because of gender, skin colour, the way you like to have sex, your age, your red hair, sprouting a big nose or your tendency to gain weight faster? Four: 'I think, therefore I am.' What about internal self-generation? The 'self' formed by our logic is the promise held forth by philosophers, professors, and theologians of literature and art. There is constantly an entire world of self-help, self-improvement and associated means to victories. What knowledge-driven thinking helps with and has a legitimate role is in helping us to interpret the world around us. What it is not so good at is interpreting us. Our thinking is biased. We are not great at forming an unbiased 'self' view. Other channels may also feed an intrinsically erroneous 'self' emergence. These four channels are not a definitive list. All of these channels can become helpful too. But how to handle that isn't easy. I find it beneficial to use all of the above as a secondary source, a confirmation rather than a primary source. Mary reacted in a telling way to things happening around the growing boy Jesus. She treasured all these things in her heart. But there is a count it all dung moment too. Let go of the four channels' feed to the incarnated presence of God's Spirit as signalled in Ephesians 2:10 and Psalm 139 for a much greater truth. We discover our soul's character as the character of God's Spirit emerges to shine through our soul-body. It will come out differently from any other person in a delightful manner. Much of our pain and, if it is chronic, suffering comes from the 'self' created from the feed of the four channels.
2
2
Questions about Suffering
In Practical transformation
Questions about Suffering
In Practical transformation
Joe de Swardt
Aug 17, 2022
Thank you Stephan!! I think we may be in agreement. At the creation of our species, God blew his breath in the dirt puppet he sculpted. That part of God, that left God, melted into the clay to for the living soul, is always seeking God. Where the sin issue comes in was when our ancestor (figurative or actual, I don't care) was put out the garden. From that point onwards, the embedded God sensor could not experience the direct presence of God. What follows is a whole lot of intermediation starting with the early pioneer sole traders (Noah + family, Enoch, Abraham, etc) till Moses and the law, then the nation with judges, kings, prophets, etc. emerges but never quite get to heal the rest of goy nations, or even themself. This intermediated proximity (through a veil) broke open when Jesus came and the gospel played out. Suddenly, the inward sensing part can 'boldly approach the throne of grace' as an adopted family member. The original sin had two effects. One, banishment from the garden. Two, lies. The biggest lie is that we can exist autonomously. This lie of autonomy created a counter identity to the God given soul-body identity routed always in God. We now split into a body and dislocated from that body, a notion of self. This notion of self is a lie. Nothing of it originates from truth. It comes from distorted reflections and distorted contemplations, from itself (autogenetic) and from the 'other' the cosmos (split from its Creator) and people (split from their Creator). This identity is natural, earthy and because it is split from God - it is open to lessor powers, rulers and principalities of the demonic kind. The fall excluded God from us, resulting in a form of us without God. This form is a lie and not rooted in any transcendent Truth, only in subjective 'truisms' (kindly-flattering or malicious-destructive falsehoods). The breath is not re-united by being born again, since if that was so, then we would live perfectly from that moment onwards. It is given access back to where it came from, where it wants to go - if we only let it. The problem is we are stupid. And we ignore it, get distracted, or sneak off to do some mischief. We have a terrible hangover of living and doing stuff under our own steam, in the place split from God, surrounded by a culture packed full of people and notions split from God. We got used to being split and we, like the steel in a spring (spring steel) default back to bad habits. We need to learn new habits. This is what I believe in spiritual disciplines. All those new habits involve letting the soul do what it cannot help itself from doing, what it was made to do and what it desires more than anything else to do - that is go to God and be with God. The spiritual disciplines point or make room for the soul to turn its face to the indwelling Spirit. (Psalm 71:6 NRSV "From my birth I have leaned upon you") When we stop, frustrate or pay no attention in some sort of neglectful even callous stubbornness, then the soul cries. It is like a babe seeking the breast of its mother. That is the pain I talk about. What I'm suggesting is that this pain is the pain of all pains. It is the mother-load, the primordial scream of the human race. All other pain is subordinate or an offspring of this pain. All suffering is some lesser form of this. Look at Daniel's friends in the fire. Happy as can be. Terrible circumstances, wonderful company. Is Richard Rohr right? NT Wright talks about the now, but not yet tension. The Kingdom of God is here, but the new Jerusalem is still under veils. God is with us, but as an engagement ring. Jesus is in me, I am in Jesus, but I am still in clay body that ages, gets pimples, has sex, can be very faulty. But, we are told that it is temporary. This seems so, because people stop rebooting at some point and get partially carted off for a bit of dirt recycling. So, there has to be a more final and complete spare-part upgrade coming. Once the soul gets a body refit, then we are complete. What that all means and feels like, we can laughingly discuss at some distant future of soon. What I understand is that with that refit, pain and suffering ceases. And unveiled living with God and a whole bunch of unimaginable beings and creatures, others like us, etc. becomes possible. So the rent we pay, is the finished but unfinished part of the above. This is painful, but since the incarnation of a Spirit, no suffering need to be involved - for any long period. But, I am not sure Richard is right. Jesus suffered. Why will I not suffer? The current incompleteness feels the pain and the suffering. This is why I wrote that the downside of incarnation is that Jesus suffers (the suffering servant). When Christ's Spirit indwell me like a tent, then we become a bit of a magnate for this. CS Lewis, in the Narnia tales says 'Aslan is good, but never safe'. The incarnation reality brings about a certain amount of peril. This is Jesus finishing His suffering in many bodies until all things are seen to be subjected to His rule. The part of the cosmos that is actually surprisingly still good is everywhere outside of the human construct. The planets, the heavens, sea, earth, plants, animals, etc. Here and there is some dysfunction due to sin and death, but the lion and the lamb lying down together is much less complicated than sorting out South Africa's politicians, the feral financial systems, the injustice of human legal systems, the theft of accountancy, bureaucracy of your local bank or passport office, the torture of the medical world, the pollution of industry and the mindless junk spewing out of culture. Pain and suffering is imbedded in the outflow or people living full throttle out of badly bridled autogenetic humanity that cannot stop being creative, but does so with zero quality control and little effective governance and almost no reflection or contemplation. Let's face it, that beautiful sunset, smell of rain, quiet winter morning OR the news of an ANC Indaba? Which causes distress? Is it pain, or is it in fact oppressive, exploitative and suffocating, either immediately, or in anticipation? Do you suffer? Well, I think we suffer. And we still struggle. While that part from our creational origins groan, cry and long for the fullness not yet but promised soon. So we suffer. But through contemplation, by nurturing and untethering the leash on our souls, we return. What we return to comforts greatly. Great comfort and loving kindness binds, heal and give us the magnanimity to endure. From the onset of the pain that brings suffering, till when we repose at God's nurture, takes effort. When we are stiff and unpracticed, this can take some doing. It is our doing and our doing alone. We have to turn, yield and repose. If we are good at yielding, leaning into the way our souls want to, then we suffer only a bit, before we touch that fountain that hints of that river flowing from a certain throne, in that invisible city, the trees that flourish on the river bank and their magical leaves. If we want to stop most of our suffering, then we need to give most of humanity a sleeping tablet that will take them off the playing field. It's like a giant rugby player, as long as that brute is in the game - there will be pain, and lots of it, and too frequently - that is suffering. Get the player red-carded, and maybe it is better. The problem is when the entire team seems to be a bunch of hooligans - then, my friend, we knuckle down for that end whistle.
0
Questions about Suffering
In Practical transformation
Joe de Swardt
Aug 15, 2022
Thank you Stephan and Tracy for getting this Forum started. Advance warning, I think that I've fallen a bit for a specific version of thinking at the moment. This is that we have two conflicting 'centres' from which we can choose to live our lives from. The first is from the Genesis account of God making our species. This is from cribbed from the BibleRef commentary, which communicates something stunning: "God's creation is described using the term bā'rā, which implies "creation" in the sense of "coming into being," or of "something from nothing." But here, in Genesis 2:7, the creation of the first human being uses the Hebrew word for "formed:" yi'ser. This describes the actions of an artist, a sculptor, or a potter. This term is specific in that it always refers to work done on some existing substance. In this case, God is forming human life from the ground itself. That Hebrew word is ā'pār, which refers to dirt, powder, debris, or ash. Following the storyline of this verse, after being "formed," man was merely a lump of well-formed dirt. It's what God did next that made us alive: He breathed into the man's nose the breath of life. Literally, God breathed life into the lump, transforming it into a living being, or "creature," or "soul." All of life originated with God, but human life began with the personal breath of God. Without God, we simply would not live. The name Adam is directly from the Hebrew ā'dām, which literally means "man." This name reflects the dust from which we were formed: the Hebrew word for ground is 'adamah'." So, when God made a bloke, called 'Topsoil', God made us from creation's debris, from the planet itself he artistically sculpted us, then into this inanimate clay God-breathed 'the breath of life' and the debris sculpture became animated, referred to as a 'living soul'. The life comes out of God's own being. I presume God does not need to breathe in and out to stay alive, so clearly, God exuding or expelling substances from His own being, so to say, is something other than human breath. These are the only two ingredients, debris and God exudate. That makes us. I assume that this substance that came from God is like some sort of a homing pigeon, a GPS, a homing device, that continually sighs and yearns to return back from where it originated from. Therefore, this predominant characteristic, this 'breath of life' merged with the debris-puppet to form a living soul (body+breath combination). So this soul-body is one thing; an animated body. So, we can say goodbye to Plato. No dualism (body and soul), even trialisms ('logos', 'thymos' and 'eros'), only oneness. Plato goes on to describe, in his parable of the 'Ship of Fools', how the captain of a boat is drugged and the control of the ship is given over to incompetent, mutineers. The living soul of the Bible is in stark contrast with the fabled 'self' Plato describes as a boat, with a 'true self', captain. But jumping to Freud's odd restatement of Plato (Id, Ego and Super Ego), is full of a fractious crew of sub-egos or lesser selves. All these crew members constantly shout out directions and opinions into the ears of the hard-of-hearing and somewhat klutzy captain. This is the situation that the alternative centre we sometimes choose to live from is: bobbing along life's waves, in a cacophony of contradictions, on the verge of mutiny and out of control. May as well drink up all the grog and eat all the food, tomorrow we die. In contrast, living from the centre of the living soul, this breath-of-life that originated from God is desperate to reconnect with God. Living from this centre, we end up as described in Psalm 42:1-2: "As the deer pants for the water brooks, So pants my soul for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God?" The living soul's primary hope is to appear right before God. The separation from God is a form of groaning and suffering separation anxiety. Maybe all our human suffering comes right back to this simple, single angst. When our bodies hurt through sickness, assault, or even horrendous violations such as rape, we suffer because we are vulnerable since we are 'exposed' no longer nestled deep inside of God. This exposure is felt through the flesh as pain. We suffer mental anguish, rejection, unrequited love, disappointment, slander and other reflected assaults of the projected reflection distortions flung at us by others. We feel naked and poor, the soul-body needs clothing - the shekinah of God's radiance clothed the naked ancestor in the story. It was a noble and rich, multi-coloured coat. Once we fell out of communion with God, we suffered cold and nakedness. Suffering is a state of reality. But in this world of struggle, there is a solution (and that is possibly the sole purpose of devils, destruction, pain and disappointments), following the instinctive urges of the soul, to return back to God. Later on, Jesus says to Nicodemus that he must be born a second time and that this second birth is when the Spirit of God incarnates the soul-body. But this is never us, only Him. It is a foreign lodger in our soul-body, making this soul-body a temple of God. I do not think that humans are born with a spirit. I do not think there even is such a thing as a human spirit. I think there is only One Spirit that is of any worth, God! Lots of lessor disembodied, invisible creatures, some noble, some gross exist. This is why Jesus did so many demon deliverances -because people's soul-body-temple picked up 'squatters', spirits that are not benign, frequently observable, and mostly deceptively parasitical. But, if we open the door and let Jesus (actually the Spirit of Jesus) in, we are incarnated with a true temple resident who will never leave us, forsake us or let us go. Unless we drastically decide to evict Him. With this intimate proximity of God-in-us, we can yield our soul-body away from the fake fictional mental fabrication called the 'self' to the incarnated Truth. And so suffering is our friend to remind us that even if we are happy, everything is going swell, we are in fact pining, yearning, struggling and suffering - until 'in God, our soul comes to rest'. This is what in all our various posts and blogs and thoughts, we always come back to 'letting go' which is a clumsy way of saying turn away, turn-towards and surrender to God's embrace. Hardship is a forceful reminder of unconscious reality. Hardship simply amplifies the constant whisper of the pain of separation and makes it scream or even shout loudly. Suffering makes the God-breath's separation from God amplify the primordial 'My God why have you forsaken me" residue in us. There is a total cure for suffering; it is a God-engaged/ abiding/ grafted/ connected/ life, never disrupted or disturbed union with God. But, we are not great at it and it requires lots and lots of struggle and failure and effort. Also, this does not make suffering, or the causes of suffering cease. It disarms the effect of such suffering internally. Suffering becomes bearable, forgivable and tolerable. Not nice, not fun, not cool - survivable and eventually we can pass through victoriously, even though victory seldom feels triumphant, mostly just feelings of relief. But, hey, take notice! What a magnificent truth! We are wonderfully made and God likes to live in clay pots. We are gifted with the 'living-breath' that made us a 'living-soul-body', and we are then incarnated by a Magnificent Spirit. There is a lesser centre that came about from a snake lying from a tree branch. It is a version of us that is false, a lie. It is an identity severed and independent from God. Promised as a 'freedom day', a liberation, graduation, it launches out untethered from anything like God. This seems so mature, so grown-up and so sophisticated. I too am like God, and God does not need a God. The Bible calls it the flesh, but in our times it is called 'self'. Self-actualisation (being complete without God), self-help (redemption DYI), true self (God independent identity), etc... This is the greater counterfeit, but it is dualistic. Self splits away from our body; it is disembodied: a 'self-awareness' that is distinct and fractured from our body because it is not from God. Our soul-body is from and by God. He is jealous of it. He will not allow that to be merged with the fake consciousness called self-consciousness or self. Therefore the illusioned self splits from the body. Pain and suffering then become a body thing. God will not incarnate into that 'self' creature either. It is a creature made by us or a concoction we fabricated together with others. So when we are going on in life and feel weak, it is because we are living out of a lie. Suffering then becomes an offence, an affront to our own godhood. It is shameful, weak, horrible, and embarrassing because it contradicts our own elevation, our separate, self-created awareness, not from God. It proves each time that it is not God. As far as a centre to live out of, it is simply a false trail. When we ask God to bless this journey on the false trail, we sub-ordinate God as the servant to the greatness of the self we made. God will not do that. So, we become frustrated, petulant and hurt. This lack of satisfaction serves to make us turn our back away from the 'self', and re-engage in facing our true essential God-fashioned, God-breathed, God-incarnated being. This being has no identity apart from God. God-is-its-God and its life-force. The fruit from this union is the Spirit's character. This character flows from our innermost holy-hole which is the temple-space occupied by a Spirit, a Holy Spirit of God. It flows from us but is not of us. How many times have you wanted or sensed that there must be or is a flow? We feel the need for this instinctively. What else is this desired flow, but a flow of the Temple Resident through our embodied-soul being? Suffering always is too much for us. It makes us need God. It helps us to return. And it completes what is lacking in the sufferings of Jesus to bring into force the Kingdom-of-God, where the worst that can be thrown at God is defeated. If we are a God-temple, if the incarnation is real, then we will go through filth, hurt, failure, disappointment, and pain - just like Jesus did, because are we not His body? There is simply no other way to house God on this planet's battlefield. Do the bankers want Jesus-centred finance? Are politicians scrambling to serve under King God? Hostility is rooted here. Sadly, the world of pain is the creation of many self-centred individuals and groups. The human systems, made by us, are the primary forces of oppression and exploitation. I think that some level of escatology is actually good. What is hope, but not a future-orientated expectation? Do we anticipate a terrible emptiness? Do we imagine that all is grim and exploitation and oppression manage to destroy all things? Then what is there to hope for? Because we expect some sort of future eternity, we become resilient through the hope of it all. Through the thought that if I don't get it all done, and if I believe that all I did or do flows out of the Temple core, and therefore I am part of a much higher concert (a concert based on eternity in motion), then I endure in expectation and hope that it carries on - in spite of my departure or end. Hope in such escatology is important to contextualise our life in space-time as part of something, therefore meaningful. Such eschatology is critical. Since the original God-breathed part does not come from anything temporary - it comes from eternalness. Therefore, my deepest awareness and longing is still for that eternalness. Not that we should be disappointed at the eschatological outlook presented in the Bible, although we are hardly competent (in my view) to make any decent sense of it. Why make sense of it? Enjoy the feeling of it; dream and imagine it.
2
1
Evolutionary incarnation
In Incarnation and evolution
Joe de Swardt
Oct 26, 2021
I love the point you make: "Those of us who have come to know the "other God", have begun a revolution that will include and care for every person we see as wounded and imperfect (including ourselves and those who do not agree with us)." Taking your comment a bit out of context, the thought that comes to me is that in reality, God is the ultimate other. Probably, we cannot find one more 'other' than us. The beguiling thing of other is the deception of 'same'. We associate to with God. We think we know such transcendency. Our hubris assumes familiarity. We may be shocked to see the difference. If the progress map starts say with something like: awareness --> considering --> broadly accepting --> being somewhat attentive --> contemplating --> participation --> intimacy in relating --> loving --> knowing (assuming that we first love before we actually know. I loved m wife, but still learn more and more towards the goal to know her). Then our level of utter obliviousness towards the actuality and real God must remain a bit shocking. Surely, God is any human's ultimate stranger. Because of kindness, goodness and love, we do not feel this 'strangeness'. God is so gracious, reassuring, loving and accepting that it cover all our multiples. This state of acceptance should not be confused with knowing. How can we harp on about the 'otherness' of others, while confessing satisfaction with God? This is incongruent and a fallacy to be sure? Therefore, we have to simply now perfect love. Love of me, love of neighbour before we can remotely suggest any actual love of God.
0
0
 

Joe de Swardt

Writer
More actions