Tag Archives: mystery

Submission is a Risky Business!!!

Being submissive is part of being a human being.  Something as simple as subscribing to the social contract requires a submission to restraint, the failure to do so resulting in the problems our President demonstrates for us daily.  And submission is a fundamental tenet of most religions.  A friend reminded me this morning that Islam means “submission” and Muslim extremists have certainly taken that seriously!  And in the Christian faith we also see obvious examples of “submission” to God that has nothing to do with any “God” that I know of.

The problem with submission in these two religious traditions is that the word is not looked at closely, paralleling an equally grievous problem that the one looking at the word is not looked at closely.  By this I mean, when we approach religious tradition, we approach it with baggage and have the predisposition to interpret this tradition only in accordance with this baggage.  That means we will interpret it in terms of unconscious needs, many of which can be ambivalent at best and many just abysmally ugly.  Therefore, submission is often a “surrender” to an idea of God that is simple and self-serving and therefore subject to the abysmal darkness.

This notion itself puts on the table the essential dimension of spirituality that I’ve spent most of my life oblivious to.  It is complicated.  It is so complicated because it is a matter of the heart, a matter that addresses the inner most depths of our being which are totally beyond the grasp of simple reason, making it even beyond the grasp of this futile effort!!!  Approaching spirituality from this perspective is humbling because it requires realizing at some point…and this is tough to put into words…we aren’t even doing the approaching but it (i.e., It, or He, or She) is approaching us.  We are in the grip of a mystery, the mystery of life, and “submission” to this mystery will involve some daily surrender in which we understand that we don’t have any complete knowledge of what is going on but a firm conviction that there is “some method to the madness” of the life we are living and are witnessing others live, even in the cosmos itself.

Nikos Kazantzakis in his book, “Report to El Greco,” wrote, “We must surrender to a rhythm not our own.”  This mistake that many religious people is that they “surrender” or submit to ideas that are very much just the rhythm they already are and, calling it “God” allows their ego to take this delusion and practice their arrogance. This does not necessarily make them “bad” people.  It just makes them human.

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Two other blogs of mine are listed here which I invited you to check out:

https://anerrantbaptistpreacher.wordpress.com/

https://literarylew.wordpress.com/

https://theonlytruthinpolitics.wordpress.com/

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The Mystery of Godliness

Too late loved I thee, O Thou beauty of ancient days, yet ever new! Too late I loved Thee! And behold, Thou wert within and I abroad, and there I searched for Thee, deformed I, plunging amid those fair forms which Thou hadst made. Thou were with me but I was not with Thee. Things held me far from Thee which, unless they were in Thee, were not at all. Thou calledst and shoutedst, and burstedst my deafness. Thou flashedst, shonest, and scattered my blindness. Though breathedst odors, and I drew I n breath and pant for Thee. I tasted, and hunger hunger and thirst. Thou touchedst me and I burned for Thy peace. When I shall with my whole soul cleave to Thee, I shall nowhere have sorrow or labor, and my life shall live as wholly full of Thee.

This beautiful prayer of St. Augustine is merely the long version of “my soul followeth hard after thee, O Lord” from the Psalmist.   I’ve always had this longing in my heart and, though it was definitely a learned emphasis…my role in my family and community was to be a “man of the cloth”…I think it also revealed a sensitivity in my soul that has not dissipated after six decades. Yes, there are many ways of looking at it, including neurology and certainly neurosis! Perhaps there is that “god spot” in some of our brains that was merely over heated with St. Augustine and with the rest of us who “pine” after the Ultimate. I can’t help but speculate about whether or not we’d ever have heard of St. Augustine if he’d have been prozac’d!

As has been said, “it takes call kinds” and we “piners’ are therefore part of the picture that is being painted. St. Augustine and his ilk were highly attuned to the mystery that lies at the heart of life. This mystery can be overwhelming and so God has kindly offered fig leaves to hide those intense feelings for most people.

Here is wisdom from Ranier Rilke re this mystery, shared with us this morning on the blog by Blue Eyed Ennis on WP:

And yet, Though We Strain
~ Rainer Maria Rilke ~

And yet though we strain
against the deadening grip
of daily necessity,
I sense there is this mystery:

All life is being lived.

Who is living it then?

Is it the things themselves,
or something waiting inside them,
like an unplayed melody in a flute?

Is it the winds blowing over the waters?
Is it the branches that signal to each other?

Is it flowers
interweaving their fragrances
or streets, as they wind through time?