Posts Tagged ‘vastation’

Trusting Those Who Have Faced It

Wednesday, August 18th, 2010

Simply put, I trust those who have faced serious challenges in life more than those who have not.  This statement is not a value judgment. Those who have not been pushed to various thresholds will be pushed there at some point.  Until that time, however, I really do put more trust in those who have come up against it.

Richard Rohr pointed this out. “You can’t know this merely by study or theology or religion, but only through painful encounters with the living God where you feel like you are dying and yet you do not die.  Then you experience another kind of life, another kind of freedom.”

As humans, I think on a certain level we intuitively know this.  In a way it is the very appeal of Christianity.  As one minister said, the suffering of Christ is what, for him, makes belief possible.  On another level, we do not believe that those who have led fallen lives have much to offer.  I know for myself to be true.  I spend endless amounts of time fishing about for the most comfortable, the least disruptive way forward.

From a New Church perspective, this process of “facing it” is called “vastation” in some of the older translations of New Church theology.  It is the trial by fire in which we feel we “are dying but do not die.”  Some of us face it here.  Others in the next life.

I have a dear friend.  Many broken relationships. Struggling with alcohol.  He is not sober.  He is not humble.  And if I was a betting man, he may end up being the most spiritual person I know.  I can see the light around the edges.