Archive for May, 2016

The Gift of Being Disillusioned

Tuesday, May 10th, 2016

It does not take long to search the Bible for examples of disillusionment in its many forms … person-to-person, and with God.

So what might be the gift of disillusionment?

Look at the word.  ”Dis” and “illusion.”  Disillusion is what rids us of our illusions.  That sure is neither a pretty nor pleasant process. But it is necessary.

St. John of the Cross based an invaluable Christian theology around it when he wrote of the “Dark Night of the Soul.”  Those “dark nights” as he held it were not there to crush us but were God’s endeavor to free us, to free us from views of God that were simply inaccurate, or in a softer holding, views of God that may have served us for a time but no longer serve us.

That may not make times of disillusionment easier to navigate through.  But maybe it does this … maybe it gives a sense of meaning and purpose to what can feel like a very dark time.

 

A Different Kind of “OK”

Friday, May 6th, 2016

Much of current culture is based on “Project Self” as described by Alan Mann in his book “Atonement for a Sinless Society.”

“Project Self” focuses myopically on self realization without any reference to Other/ others. As such it gravitates to the language of rights and away from the language of responsibilities.

The tools in that construction project are simple … (1) therapeutic liberation and (2) self-satisfying consumerism.   Both point back towards our own individual desires and tastes for their fulfillment sans the disruption of connectedness.  ”If I feel good about myself, all is well.”  ”If I get what I want, all is well.”

Inevitably “Project Self” fails as we come to feel increasingly estranged and divided, faced with the growing shadows and doubts around the apparent meaningless of it it all, insufficient relationships, and alienation from our fell man.

And, free as we are, we can choose differently. To simplify, imagine a “Project Connection”, a counter narrative, characterized by an enlivened self forgetfulness, in which we invite each other to that focuses on God, the world, others, and self.

The tools in this construction project are likewise simple … (1) Deep, humble, open connection and (2) Contagious, service-oriented generosity.

What results is shame free self-coherence. The image and likeness of God now alive, now moving through us.  A different kind of “Ok.”