Quotes That I Have Gathered – S

Sacred place

A sacred place is an absolute necessity for anybody today. You must have a room or a certain hour or so a day . . . where you can simply experience and bring forth what you are and what you might be. This is a place of creative incubation. At first you may find that nothing happens there. But if you have a sacred place and use it, something eventually will happen. . . .You are always doing something that is required of you. Where is your bliss station? You have to try to find it. Put on music . . . read a book. In your sacred place you get the “thou” feeling of life that these people had for the whole world.

Joseph Campbell, The Hero’s Adventure

Salvation

The human needs salvation. Salvation is possible only when the individual accepts his or her need to be liberated from inhibiting idols. . . . Salvation is a state achieved through the integrating forces of both the human and the holy. Philomena

Agudo, Affirming the Human and the Holy

Right living, and not right belief, are the essence of salvation. Those who accept that will find themselves closest to the Buddhists, and to those Christians who, like Abbe Pire, say “What matters today is not the difference between believers and nonbelievers, but that between those who care and those who do not care.”

Schillebeeckx?

Edward Schillebeeckx, Jesus, sees a dilemma: “Is ‘Christian salvation’ vested in the Jesus who lived here on earth, or solely in the crucified‑and‑risen one?”

Satyagraha

Rom, here in Broken Bow, told me November 21, 1991 the meaning of Satyagraha. I had understood it to be “soul‑force”. That word, however, lacks concreteness which can speak to concrete experience. What is the soul? How does one promote it? How does it relate to forgiveness? What is forgiveness? Rom defined Satyagraha as satya ‑ truth and love + graha ‑ firm insistence: a firm insistence upon truth and love.

Schlesinger, in his series on world leaders, Gandhi, remarks how Gandhi was introduced to South Africa by being thrown out of the first class compartment of the train and off the train:

He spent that night in the unlit waiting room of the Maritzburg station, shivering fromthe cold but too afraid to ask the baggage attendant for his coat. Should he stay and fight for his rights, or should he give up and go back to India, or should he just swallow the insults and complete his legal case? He chose to stay and fight against race prejudice. It was a night that changed the course of his life. . . .

When Gandhi arrived in Pretoria he immediately sent a letter of protest to the railway company and called a meeting of the Indian community. Now, burning with the urgency of his cause, he was no longer too frightened to speak in public. Yet, strangely, his emphasis was not on protest but self‑improvement. Indians must combat the accusations made against them on the grounds of their way of life by proving the charges false. They must be as sanitary as possible, learn English (he offered to teach them), and cooperate with each other.

To see the universal and all‑pervading Spirit of Truth face to face one must be able to love the meanest creatures as oneself. And a man who aspires after that cannot afford tokeep out of any field of life. That is why my devotion to Truth has drawn me into the field of politics and . . . those who say that religion has nothing to do with politics do not know what religion means.

Gandhi

Gandhi’s policy as a Satyagrahi, or someone who practices Satyagraha, was not only to refrain from violence but also to be courteous to and think well of opponents, officials and jailers. This, he said, could be the hardest part of Satyagraha. They were not fighting against individuals, however, only against the evils of the system.

Schlesinger on Gandhi

A Satyagrahi is not afraid to trust his opponent, Gandhi said. . . . Neither does he take advantage of his opponent’s weaknesses.

Schlesinger on Gandhi

Science and Faith

The restless modern search for increased accuracy of observation and for increased detailed explanation is based upon unquestioning faith in the reign of Law. Apart from such faith, the enterprise of science is foolish, hopeless.

Whitehead, Adventures of Ideas

Galileo had always held that the ultimate test of a theory must be found in nature:

“I think that in discussions of physical problems we ought to begin not from the authority of scriptural passages, but from sense‑experiences and necessary demonstrations. . . Nor is God any less excellently revealed in Nature’s actions than in the sacred statements of the Bible.

Urban VIII objected that there can be no ultimate test of God’s design, and insisted that Galileo must say that in his book: “It would be an extravagant boldness for anyone to go about to limit and confine the Divine power and wisdom to some one particular conjecture or his own.

J. Bronowski, The Ascent of Man

There can be no living science unless there is a widespread instinctive conviction in the existence of an Order of Things, and, in particular, of an Order of Nature.

Alfred North Whitehead, “Science and the Modern World,” Lowell Institute Lectures 1925, from Alfred North Whitehead, An Anthology, MacMillan.

Faith in reason is the trust that the ultimate nature of things lie together in harmony which excludes mere arbitrariness. It is the faith that at the base of things we shall not find mere arbitrary mystery. . . . This faith cannot be justified by any inductive generalization. It springs from direct inspection of the nature of things as disclosed in our own immediate past experience.

Alfred North Whitehead, “Science and the Modern World,” Lowell Institute Lectures 1925, from Alfred North Whitehead, An Anthology, MacMillan.

Science and God

It is almost impertinent to talk of the ascent of man in the presence of two men, Newton and Einstein, who stride like gods. Of the two Newton is the Old Testament god; it is Einstein who is the New Testament figure. He was full of humanity, pity, a sense of enormous sympathy. His vision of nature herself was that of a human being in the presence of something god‑like, and that is what he always said about nature. He was fond of talking about God: “God does not play dice,” “God is not malicious.” Finally Niels Bohr one day said to him, “Stop telling God what to do.” But that is not quite fair. Einstein was a man who could ask immensely simple questions. And what his life showed, and his work, is that when the answers are simple too, then you hear God thinking.

J. Bronowski, The Ascent of Man Paul

Davies, God and the New Physics, ends his book:

I began by making the claim that science offers a surer path than religion in the search of God. It is my deep conviction that only by understanding the world in all its many aspects ‑ reductionist and holistic, mathematical and poetical, through forces, fields, and particles as well as through good and evil [his notion of religion?] ‑ that we will comet o understand ourselves and the meanign behind this universe, our home.

[Is this what Bergson decried in Creative Evolution when he criticised such reductionistic thinking as reducing all of life to objects, shapes and forms and ignoring other forms of knowledge? What about also coming to God through our experiences, both the experience of the wonder of the world and in experience of our own limitations, through our recognition that we are out of control and through seeing the work of God in the lives of others.? Davies’ notion of religion seems overly restrictive, especially if viewed with Eric Fromm’s definition of religion.]

Science, and Philosophy

If science is not to degenerate into a medley of ad hoc hypotheses, it must become philosophical and must enter upon a thorough criticism of its own foundations.

Alfred North Whitehead, “Science and the Modern World,” Lowell Institute Lectures 1925, from Alfred North Whitehead, An Anthology, MacMillan.

With scientific thought being based upon quantification, it is no wonder that scientists placed their principles upon a materialistic basis and thereafter ceased to worry about philosophy.

Whitehead

Bertrand Russell, My Philosophical Development: “Science is at no moment quite right, but it is seldom quite wrong, and has, as a rule, a better chance of being right than the theories of the unscientific.”

Science and Spirituality

Science has not diminished human beings nor divorced us from divinity. The new discoveries of science “rejoin us to the ancients” by enabling us to recognize in this whole universe “a reflection magnified of our own inward nature; so that we are indeed its ears, its eyes, its thinking, and its speech ‑ or, in theological terms, God’s ears, God’s eyes, God’s thinking, and God’s Word.”

Joseph Campbell, Introduction to The Hero’s Adventure

Science and mythology do not conflict. Science is breaking through now into the mystery dimension. It has pushed itself to the edge between what can be known and that which cannot because it is a mystery transcending all human research: the source of life. We speak of the divine as the transcendent energy source.

Joseph Campbell, The Hero’s Adventure

J. Bronowski, The Ascent of Man, quotes William Blake in Augeries of Innocense:

To see a World in a Grain of Sand

And a Heaven in a Wild Flower.

Hold infinity in the palm of your hand

And Eternity in an hour.

Only recently has science discovered the reality of paradox. M. Scott Peck, The Road Less Traveled. He quotes J. Robert Oppenheimer on the necessity of a paradoxical answer to the question of whether an electron’s position changes with time: If we ask whether the position of the electron remains the same, we must say “no”; if we ask whether the electron’s position changes with time, we must say “no”; if we ask whether the electron is at rest, we must say “no”; if we ask whether it is in motion, we must say “no”. The Buddha has given such answers when interrogated as to the conditions of a man’s self after his death; but they are not the familiar answers for the tradition of seventeenth and eighteenth century science.

Having been successful in discovering natural laws, scientists in their world view have made an idol out of the concept of natural law, just as they made an idol out of the notion of measurement. . . . The religious have not wanted their religion shaken by science, just as the scientific have not wanted their science to be shaken by religion.

M. Scott Peck, The Road Less Traveled

Science, Matter and Spirit, Physics and Biology

J. Bronowski, The Ascent of Man, explores the example of Syetard, who first conceived of chain reaction, patented it to preclude publication, then wrote to Roosevelt concerning the nuclear age and inevitability of war, and finally unsuccessfully strove to demonstrate to Japan the power of the bomb without loss of life. At that point Syetard gave up physics and turned to biology at the Salk institute. “Physics had been the passion of the last 50 years, and their masterpiece. But now we knew that it was high time to bring to the understanding of life, particularly human life, the same singleness of mind that we had given to understanding the physical world.”

Scripture

Scripture is not a textbook of systematic theology despite the attempt of countless generations of scholars to make it so. Rather, it is an account of the historical experiences of a people. When asked about God, the biblical writer answers, “Here is a story. . . . ” Robert McAfee Brown, An Emerging Theology in World Perspective.

The sayings of the New Testament and of Christian writers like Augustine are true if taken phenomenologically and dialectically; namely, as expressing one side of the actual, concrete experience which men have of the world. But they have been interpreted undialectically as if they were the total expression of man’s relationship with the world.

Charles Davis, Body as Spirit

To continue to believe a literalist theory of scriptural inspiration seems no longer an option to anyone who has investigated the results of modern historical study of the scriptures.

Secular religion

For Muentzer, the struggle for social reformation needs the inner purification of the person, and personal religious salvation itself cannot be realized without revolutionary action. . . . He moved toward an understanding of the universal church of the Holy Spirit. In this respect, he is a pioneer of the theology of secularization and of the contemporary theology of the minjung.

Suh Nam‑Dong, Minjung Theology

Bonhoeffer stands by the Old Testament and John 1:14: “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” He is not prepared to have the virgin birth, the Trinity or anything else boldly stated as revelation ‑ without relating their meaning to the present world in a fully incarnational Christology. It is thus, not only mythological concepts based upon the matrix of thought in the first century that trouble him, but the need to reinterpret in a secular sense the concepts of ‘repentance, faith, justification, rebirth and sanctification’.

Edwin Robertson, The Shame and the Sacrifice

There are varied forms of secularism:

1. materialistic secularism: wealth and possessions bring us happiness (e.g. advertisements for goods and services)

2. hedonistic secularism: fulfillment of life through pursuit of pleasure and avoidance of pain

3. pragmatic secularism: that which is workable is good (the theme, “Don’t set your sights too high, but be realistic in your goals” marks the value to be sought)

4. spiritual secularism: places emphasis on the life of the creative mind with stress on the arts ‑ a religion of culture.

Secularism has in common that man and nature form the whole of reality.

J. Wesley Robb, The Reverent Skeptic

The ‘faith of secularity’ is that fundamental attitude which affirms the ultimate significance and final worth of our lives, our thoughts, and actions, here and now, in nature and in history.

David Tracy, Blessed Rage for Order

Christian faith can render intellectually coherent and symbolically powerful that common secular faith which we share.

David Tracy, Blessed Rage for Order

Compare “Humanism”

Self, and other

Schweitzer was asked why he gave up theology and music: “I decided early that my life up to the age of about thirty would be to do as I wished; but that after that, it would be for my fellow man. . . . I wanted to apply in a material way a Christian concept of love, and medicine seemed the obvious course.

Best of Playboy Interviews, Dec. 1963

8‑25‑90 Campbell speaks of following one’s bliss, and he also speaks of self‑denial, integrity of self necessary for integrity of relationship. Dr. Peck also speaks of the need to have a healthy ego before one can perforate (in Dr. Suchocki’s language) those boundaries both into the subconscious and in union with the world. Asimov also speaks of the brain being first an instrument of preparation before it can be an instrument of service. Finally, AA speaks of the need to give to self before one can have anything to give to others.

Self‑denial

Kim Chi‑ha: “I separate my body and mind from every comfort and easy life, circles of petit bourgeois dreams, and secular swamps without depth. This is the total content of my faith ‑ I know that only vigorous self‑denial is my way. Let us leave as a wayfarer, leaving everything behind. This is the revolution which I have to show and realize with my life itself. The delusion is finished, ‘Ah, a sad and painful act of a spider which goes up in a single line in the air. . . . ‘”

Suh Kwang‑Sun David, Minjung Theology

The secret to life is that satisfaction comes from abandoning the self. . . . The most miserable people are self‑focused. They worry about getting their share. They keep checking themselves.

David K. Reynolds, Constructive Living

It may seem to many that the ultimate requirement ‑ to give up one’s self and one’s life ‑ represents a kind of cruelty on the part of God or fate, which makes our existence a sort of bad joke and which can never be completely accepted. Yet the exact opposite is the reality. It is in the giving up of self that human beings can find the most ecstatic and lasting, solid, durable joy in life. And it is death that provides life with all its meaning. This “secret” is the central wisdom of religion.

M. Scott Peck, The Road Less Traveled

You must forge yourself an identity before you can give it up. You must develop an ego before you can lose it. There are many people who possess a vision of evolution yet seem to lack the will for it. They want, and believe it is possible, to skip over the discipline, to find an easy shortcut to sainthood.

M. Scott Peck, The Road Less Traveled

Self‑examination

When the light of truth has risen within us, then we see clearly what is there. Then we love ourselves without partiality,without flattery, as we love our neighbor. In the meantime, God spares us by revealing our weakness to us just in proportion as our strength tosupport the view of it increases. We discover our imperfections one by one as we are able to cure them. Without this merciful preparation that adapts our strength to the light within, we should be indespair. Those who correct others ought towatch the moment when God touches their hearts; they must bear a fault with patience til they perceive His spirit reproaching them within. Then theymust follow His providence that gently reproaches them, so that theymay feel that it is less God than their own hearts that condemns them. The more self‑love we have, the more severe are our censures. . . . The less we love ourselves, the more considerate we are of others.

Francois Fenelon

We are beginning to realize that the sources of danger to the world lie more within us than outside, and that the process of constant self‑examination and contemplation is essential for ultimate survival.

M. Scott Peck, The Road Less Traveled

Self‑government

To prepare for home‑rule, individuals must cultivate the spirit of service, renunciation, truth, nonviolence, self‑restraint, patience.

Gandhi

Political self‑government . . . is no better than individual self‑government and therefore is to be attained by precisely the same means that are required fro individual self‑government or self‑rule.

Gandhi

Self‑love

Self‑love must be uprooted, and the love of God take its place in our hearts before we can see ourselves as we are. Then the same principle that enables us to see our imperfections will destroy them. When the light of truth has risen within us, then we see clearly what is there. Then we love ourselves without partiality, without flattery, as we love our neighbor.

Francois Fenelon

Sex

Sex is not a matter of commitment but one of self‑expression and play and exploration and learning and joyful abandon.

M. Scott Peck, The Road Less Traveled

The supposed uncontrollable sexual urges of the body are in fact the reflection of the compulsive drives of an empty, isolated, threatened ego, trying to fill up its emptiness or protect its unstable, unreal self and the world against the shattering impact of genuine feeling. What are called sexual problems are problems of the total personality . . . When genuine, sex is a privileged expression of love. . . . Sex in its genuine form as sensuous love is sacramental in its power to move persons out of self‑centeredness into an openness in which they meet God.

Charles Davis, Body as Spirit

That longing for the other as a lost part of oneself is not the same as the desire to possess another in order to fill one’s own emptiness. . . . Sexual love, then, is not a remedy for an inadequacy of the self in its individual being, but a going beyond the individual self once securely established.

Charles Davis, Body as Spirit

As sensuous, we allow the spontaneous sexual responsiveness of the body to hold sway and suspend the controlling and driving empetus of the rational mind and will.

Charles Davis, Body as Spirit

When the value of human sexuality is repressed, it returns as pornography.  When we try to take sex away from love, we succeed only in taking love away from sex.  Spong, Why Christianity Must Change or Die, p. 160

Sexual love and God

Since indeed God cannot be apprehended as an object, the love of God arises in us only as a vista, an endlessly receding horizon, beyound some human love. It is the transcendent dynamic of human love itself that makes it appropriate to speak of love of God. So, without the reality of human love, love of God would have no meaning.

Charles Davis, Body as Spirit

Speaking of traditional Christian commentary on Song of Solomon, but rejection of physical sexuality, Charles Davis, Body as Spirit, responds: “There is nothing unhealthy in an eroticism that sees in sexual love a dynamic that both expresses and mediates man’s highest aspirations as a bodily person. But there is something unhealthy and corrupt in an eroticism that shrinks from the reality of sex while using its language and imagery.”

See “Symbol”

Sexual love, then, made into a symbol of divine love, may be a fantasy replacing the reality of s4exual love itself. This makes divine love a phatasmal relation, to be left behind as one grows toward maturity and health. But sexual love as a symbol of divine love may be the very reality of sexual love when rendered transparent in its meaning as the embodiment and expression, the felt dynamism of the love of God.

Charles Davis, Body as Spirit

Sexual love is of its nature a symbol of union with God, because for bodily persons it is a liberating force that leads to God.

Charles Davis, Body as Spirit

Charles Davis, Body as Spirit, speaks of C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity as representative of the traditional attitude of preoccupation of control, sex, as our instinct gone wrong; as an appetite that must be brought under control, as also seen in Lewis’ book The Great Divorce. If there is to be a rich and genuine human responsiveness to reality in feeling; an openness to the joys and delights, the pain, suffering, and stress of human bodily experience; and an ability to relate to others in a free communication; then there must be a basic acceptance of sexuality and of the tone and quality with which it marks the totality of human living. This basic acceptance implies being in harmony and at ease with manifestations of sex more specific thatn the sexual coloring of all human experience.

Charles Davis, Body as Spirit

Sex and Marriage

Christianity, and more particularly St. Paul, introduced an entirely novel view of marriage, that it existed not primarily for the procreation of children, but to prevent the sin of fornication. (I Cor. vii. 1‑9.)

Bertrand Russell’s Best, edited by Robert E. Egner

Sexual love is of its nature a symbol of union with God, because for bodily persons it is a liberating force that leads to God. . . . Genuine eros or sexual love is only possible where there is a degree of maturity. That longing for the other as a lost part of oneself is not the same as the desire to possess another in order to fill one’s own emptiness. . . . Sexual love, then, is not a remedy for an inadequacy of the self in its individual being, but a going beyond the individual self once securely established.

Charles Davis, Body as Spirit

Sexual mores

Sexual love, unconditioned culturally and untrammeled by institutions, is not a reality but a creation of fantasy. . . . While I consider “free love” or “natural sex” without laws or institutions immature fantasies, I do not regard any of the laws, institutions, and customs regulating sexual activity as absolute. Charles Davis, Body as Spirit

Skepticism

See “Man, Hope for”, “Dogma”, “Certainty” and “Tolerance”

Sin

Sin is anything which separates us from the love of God.

Melvin Nida

Edwin Robertson, writing of Bonhoeffer’s later concept of sin: “Man is certainly a sinner, but his sin lies not in those weaknesses which can be spied out, but in his strength. Goethe and Napoleon were sinners, not because they were unfaithful husbands, but because of the use of their strength. The Bible never spies out little sins, it deals with more serious issues than the scandal columns of the newspapers.

The Shame and the Sacrifice

A simple definition of sin is behavior that tends to destroy oneself and others.

Philomena Agudo, Affirming the Human and the Holy

Sin means ‑ to quote John Wren‑Lewis ‑ that ‘human beings have voluntarily used those higher potentialities to create false ways of living in which the higher potentialities are denied.’

Charles Davis, Body as Spirit

The Bible uses several words for sin. The most important is hata, “to miss” (a goal or the road; for instance, Prov. 19:2, “He who makes haste with his feet misses”). Another, avon, means “iniquity,” “guilt,” or “punishment” and has its root meaning “to err” (from the road). A third term is pesha, usually translated as “transgression,” used in the sense of rebellion.

Eric Fromm, You Shall Be As Gods

[See also “Repentance” and “God, Forgiveness”]

The real sin of the world is not the little moral wrongs we do, but a total reality we get caught in: structural or systemic sin; that which is done to us, by reason of our condition ‑ the traditional notion of original sin.

Friar Richard Rohr, “Breathing Under Water”, Twelve Steps and Spirituality

We got preoccupied with imputing guilt, we should confess the sin. But the original use of “sin”was simply naming a reality: what is happening that is so blinding, so addicting, keeping people from feeling, thinking their thoughts, keeping them addicted?

Friar Richard Rohr, “Breathing Under Water”, Twelve Steps and Spirituality

Until the demon is named, the darkness is recognized, it will trap us.

Friar Richard Rohr, “Breathing Under Water”, Twelve Steps and Spirituality

Romans 7: “Why do I do what I don’t want to do?” Romans 8: “This I know, in Christ there is no condemnation.”

John Bunyan on sin:

No sin is little itself; because it is a contradiction of the nature and majesty of God.

Sins go not alone, but folow one another as do the links of a chain.

One leak will sink a ship; and one sin will destroy a sinner.

He that lives in sin and hopes for happiess hereafter, is like him that soweth cockle and thinks to fill his barn with wheat and barley.

Crush sin in the conception, lest it bring forth death in thy soul.

Sin is nothing else than that the creature wills other than God wills, and contrary to Him.

Theologia Germanica

See also “Certainty” and “Tolerance”

Sin, Confession of

To confess our sins is to name them: this is what I am doing, this is what I am, this is what I am becoming. . . . Confession is a fearless moral inventory: Admit to God, admit to self, admit to another.

Friar Richard Rhor, “Breathing Under Water”, Twelve Steps and Spirituality

We do not come to God by getting rid of sin; rather we come to God through our sin and our brokenness.

Friar Richard Rhor, “Breathing Under Water”, Twelve Steps and Spirituality

Sin, Original

We human beings do not live in sin.  We are not born in sin.  We do not need to have the stain of our original sin washed away in baptism.  We are not fallen creatures who will lose salvation if we are not baptized.  Spong, Why Christianity Must Change or Die, p. 98

Song of Songs

Bonhoeffer said he would rather read Song of Songs as a straight love poem, “that is probably the best “Christological” exposition.

Soul

Jung: the soul cannot exist in peace until it finds its other.

Joseph Campbell, The Hero’s Adventure

This soul which is a synthetic unity in action, escapes the grasp of Science, whose work is essentially that of analyzing things in their elements and their material antecedents; only intuition and philosophical reflection can discover it.

Nicolas Corte quoting Teilhard, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin: His Life and Spirit

According to St. Thomas the soul is not transmitted with the semen, but is created afresh with each man. There is, it is true, a difficulty: when a man is born out of wedlock, this seems to make God an accomplice in adultery. This objection, however, is only specious. There is a grave objection which troubled St. Augustine, and that is as to the transmission of original sin. It is the soul that sins, and if the soul is not transmitted, but created afresh, how can it inherit the sin of Adam? This is not discussed by St. Thomas.

Bertrand Russell’s Best, edited by Robert E. Egner

You know the disease in Central Africa called sleeping sickness. . . . There also exists a sleeping sickness of the soul. Its most dangerous aspect is that one is unaware of its coming. That is why you have to be careful. As soon as you notice the slightest sign of indifference, the moment you become aware of the loss of seriousness, of longing, of enthusiasm and zest, take it as a warning. You should realize that your soul suffers if you live superficially. People need times in which to concentrate, when they can search their inmost selves. It is tragic that most men have not achieved this feeling of self‑awareness. And finally when they hear the inner voice they do not want to listen anymore. They carry on as before so as not to be constantly reminded of what they have lost. But as for you, resolve to keep a quiet time both in your homes and here within these peaceful walls when the bells ring on Sundays. Then your souls can speak to you without being drowned out by the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Albert Schweitzer

It does not matter so much what you do. What matters is whether your soul is harmed by what you do. If your soul is harmed something irreparable happens, the extent of which you won’t realize until it will be too late. And others harm their souls even without being exposed to great temptations. They simply let their souls wither.

Albert Schweitzer

What does the word “soul” mean? . . . No one can give a definition of the soul. But we know what it feels like. The soul is the sense of something higher than ourselves, something that stirs in us thoughts, hopes, and aspirations which go out to the world of goodness, truth and beauty. The soul is the burning desire to breathe in this world of light and never to lose it ‑ to remain children of light.

Albert Schweitzer

Soul, its seat

Novalis said, “The seat of the soul is there where the inner and outer worlds meet.

Joseph Campbell, The Hero’s Adventure

Spirit

Jung: it is no accident so many languages use the form of “spirit” for liquor.

Friar Richard Rhor, “Breathing Under Water”, Twelve Steps and Spirituality

Spirit means breath, and mind means measure, and thinking points to a thing; nevertheless these are the crass media thrugh which the sould must express itself. ‑Durant on Bergson Spirituality, and the center The shift from a geocentric to heliocentric world view seemed to have removed man from the center ‑ and the center seemed so important. Spiritually, however, the center is where sight is. The result is an unprecedented expansion of horizon.

Joseph Campbell, The Hero’s Adventure

Spirit, and determinism

Spirit will always, as it has so far, succeed in standing up to determinism and chance. It represents the indestructible part of the universe.

Emily Rideau, The Thought of Teilhard de Chardin quoting Teilhard.

Spirit, and Matter

“The cosmic Sense and the Christly Sense definitely coexisted in my heart and irresistibly drew towards each other.” In later life Teilhard wrote, “In fact, and even at the highest point of my spiritual trajectory, I only find myself completely at ease when bathed in an ocean of Matter.”

Teilhard quoted by Nicolas Corte, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin: His Life and Spirit

Teilhard de Chardin outlines “The Atomism of Spirit” pp. 21‑57 (1941):

  1. A starting point: the fact and the problem of the plurality of man
  2. First preliminary observations: the dimensional zones of the universe
  3. Second preliminary observation: the complexity of living matter
  4. The shaft of light: complexity and consciousness Consciousness as an effect of complexity
  5. Moleculization and hominization: noogenesis ‘Complexity = Centricity = Consciousness’ (1) ‘Synthesis = Centration = Interiorization’ (2)
  6. The continuation of the movement: the spirit of the earth VII. The breakthrough ahead, and
    reversal upon omega point
  7. Atom‑consciousness and ‘omegalization’

Ever since man reflected, and the more he reflected, the opposition between spirit and matter has constantly risen up as an ever higher barrier across the road that climbs up to a better awareness of the universe: and in this lies the deep‑rooted origin of all our troubles.

Teilhard de Chardin, Activation of Energy p. 23

The senses are the organs through which the live creature participates directly in the goings of the world about him. Experience is the result, the sign, and the reward of the interaction of the organism and environment which, when it is carried to the full, is a transformation of interaction into participation and communication. Oppositions of mind and body, soul and matter, spirit and flesh all have their origin, fundamentally, in fear of what life may bring forth.

John Dewey, Art as Experience

Note also the “Mass upon Things” of Teilhard de Chardin to which Nicolas Corte, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin: his Life and Spirit refers in his quote of Teilhard at page 26: “As I pray, I gradually work out a bit better my ‘Mass upon Things.’ It seems to me that in a sense the true elements that have to be consecrated every day are the growth of the world that day: the bread symbolizing appropriately what creation manages to produce, the wine (blood) what it loses, through exhaustion and suffering in its labor.”

The introduction of the supernatural into belief and the all too human easy reversion to the supernatural is much more an affair of the psychology that generates works of art than of effort at scientific and philosophic explanation. Theologies and cosmogonies have laid hold of imagination because they have been attended with solemn processions, incense, embroidered robes, music, the radiance of colored lights, with stories that stir wonder and induce hypnotic admiration. That is, they have come to man through a direct appeal to sense and to sensuous imagination.

John Dewey, Art as Experience

Henry Adams made it clear that the theology of the middle ages is a demonstration of the power of sense to absorb the most highly spiritualized ideas. Pater is quoted to say, “The Christianity of the middle ages made its way partly by its esthetic beauty, a thing so profoundly felt by the Latin hymn writers, who for one moral or spiritual sentiment had a hundred sensuous images. [See Aguido, who would affirm the sensuous.]

John Dewey, Art as Experience

John Dewey, Art as Experience, cites Keats to make the following point: all reasoning in search of truth must include imagination; otherwise, it becomes sterile. Keats:

Beauty is truth, truth beauty ‑ that is all

Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know

For Bergson, the propulsive life was best known in the living of it, “bathing in the full stream of experience.”

Foreword to Creative Evolution

See also “Duality”

Spiritual growth

Is it possible that the path of spiritual growth leads first out of superstition into agnosticism and then out of agnosticism toward an accurate knowledge of God?

M. Scott Peck, The Road Less Traveled

M. Scott Peck, The Road Less Traveled, quotes Sufi Aba Said ibn Abi‑l‑Khair who wrote nine hundred years ago,

Until college and minaret have crumbled

This holy work of ours will not be done.

Until faith becomes rejection, and rejection becomes belief

There will be no true Muslim.

Idries Shah, The Way of the Sufi (New York: Sutton paperback, 1970) p. 44

Spiritual Communion, Power

The older we grow the more we realize that true power and happiness come tous only from those who spiritually mean something to us. Whether they are near or far, still alive or dead, we need them if we are tofind our way through life. The good we bear within us can be turned into life and action only when they are near to us in spirit.

Albert Schweitzer

What tremendous inner power exists inspiritual communio with another man! How pitiable and destitute men are when they are spiritually alone, when they have no one to understand them and encourage them. Doubly pitiable if theydon’t even feel the need for it!

Albert Schweitzer

Suffering

The beginning of liberation lies in man’s capacity to suffer, and he suffers if he is oppressed, physically and spiritually.

Eric Fromm, You Shall Be As Gods

. . . [F]rom the most distant reaches in which life appears to us, it has never succeeded in rising up except by suffering, and through evil ‑ following the way of the Cross.

Teilhard de Chardin, Activation of Energy

The Pascal mystery is that Christ has died, Christ has risen, He will come again: We want to do away with the pain of death; like Thomas needed to put his hand in the Savior’s wound, so must we recognize the pain. The place of the wound is the place of healing. The place of the break becomes the place of strength.

Friar Richard Rhor, “Breathing Under Water”, Twelve Steps and Spirituality

Life is difficult. Once we truly see this truth, we transcend it. Once it is accepted, the fact that life is difficult no longer matters.

M. Scott Peck, The Road Less Traveled

Carl Jung: “Neurosis is always a substitute for legitimate suffering.”

M. Scott Peck, The Road Less Traveled

Discipline is the technique of suffering by which we experience the pain of problems in such a way as to work them through and solve them successfully, learning and growing in the process. These disciplines are:

(1) delaying gratification,

(2) acceptance of responsibility,

(3) dedication to truth, and

(4) balancing

The problem lies not in the complexity of these tools but in the will to use them.

M. Scott Peck, The Road Less Traveled

Delaying gratification is a process of scheduling the pain and pleasure of life in such way as to enhance the pleasure by meeting and experiencing the pain first and getting it over with. It is the only decent way to life. In developing the capacity of postponed gratification there is evidence that genetics may play a role, although unclear; but most of the signs rather clearly point to the quality of parenting as the determinant.

M. Scott Peck, The Road Less Traveled

The best decision‑makers are those who are willing to suffer the most over their decisions but still retain their ability to be decisive.

M. Scott Peck, The Road Less Traveled

The attempt to avoid legitimate suffering lies at the root of all emotional illness.

M. Scott Peck, The Road Less Traveled

We are not lords, but instruments in the hand of the Lord of history. . . . We are not Christs, but if we want to be Christians we must show something of Christ’s breadth of sympathy by acting responsibly, by grasping our “hour,” by facing dangers like free men, by displaying a real sympathy which springs not from fear, but from the liberating and redeeming love of Christ for all who suffer. To look on without lifting a helping hand is most unChristian. The Christian does not have to wait until he suffers himself; the sufferings of his brethren for whom Christ died are enough to awaken his active sympathy.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

The passing centuries have shown us that suffering still prevails on earth, and those very ones who confess their faith in the Lord and his kingdom must suffer more than the rest. And yet Jesus says: “Blessed are those who suffer.” . . . Our thinking about suffering is changed by this Beatitude.

Schweitzer, Sermon “Creative Suffering,” 1900

There is no answer to the question that haunts every man in his affliction. So men began to go astray. There is no God, they said. [Or in the alternative, for those who had to explain suffering, but believed in God,] they saw in all suffering a trial sent by God. “Blessed are those who suffer.” Only now do we really understand what he meant. He is saying: Don’t vex your minds by trying to explain the suffering you have to endure in this life. Don’t despair. . . . Even in the midst of your suffering you are in his kingdom You are always his children, and he has his protecting arm around you. Everything comes from God. Don’t ask why; don’t try to understand. . . . Yet, blessed are those who suffer.

Schweitzer, Sermon “Creative Suffering,” 1900

Schweitzer’s sermon “Ye Shall Be Exalted” was based upon John 12:32‑33. “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.” Many times we admire a noble person and say to ourselves ‑ and really mean it ‑ here is a quality we would like to possess. But we lack the strength. . . . The Lord will draw us after him into suffering. . . . We too must all pass through suffering. We must not tremble or ask questions. We must know that misfortune is part of what it means to be a Christian and that Jesus draws us with him into his suffering. And why? Because suffering is exaltation. . . . In pain we discover the existence of something higher than earthly happiness and physical contentment. Then we can gradually detach ourselves from those things which hold our senses captive here below; we set our eyes on the eternal and other‑worldly and strive to rise higher and higher. . . . Whatever we suffer and endure, the hand of our Savior grasps us,and his voice says to us: Higher, ever higher.

Schweitzer, Sermon “We Shall Be Exalted”

[I wonder, with the diminishing pain of my loss of the judgeship, and rejection by my profession and peers, although stirred occasionally by events, such as the appointment yesterday of Gary Washburn, if I may lose some of that exaltation, that higher vision, that may come with suffering. I must never turn my back on suffering for the eternal, but neither should I seek suffering. Rather, these moments of settlement may be moments to recharge for more work, whether or not greater, and more suffering. But with this view of Schweitzer’s the pain may not appear so devastating ‑ not the end, nor necessarily the beginning, but part of the process of growth. RW 4‑7‑92]

Surrender

As a culture we fix and manage: we believe that society is in progressive and perpetual movement to perfection. We think that we can fix the sole (soul). How difficult in that mentality of fix and manage is it to surrender. Until we go through the hole in the soul we cannot know surrender.

Friar Richard Rhor, “Breathing Under Water”, Twelve Steps and Spirituality

Symbol, and feelings

There are two opposing ways in which symbols may function in our conscious life. They may be a flight from reality; in that case they serve as a substitute for feelings. They are a way of acting out needs, desires, sensations and emotions one does not allow oneself to feel. [In that sense, Freud saw symbols as a sign of a divided self.] . . . But symbols may function in a different manner. They are, then, feelings made explicit and conscious. . . Feelings are the result of a connaturality between the subject and objective reality. . . . Thus, once the current of feeling flows freely, symbols cease to be an acting out of what remains unfelt and become the transparency of actions and things to the meaning embodied in feelings and shared by their objects. Symbols, in that sense, are not a substitute for reality, but reality itself as responded to or felt, as expressive, as dynamic.

Charles Davis, Body as Spirit

Syncretism

Campbell says a superficial combining of myths not grounded in life experiences from which they arise is error.

Minjung Theology, however, holds that where the elements are grounded in life, or where old myths apply to present life experiences, with respect for the indigenous culture, the myths can become new and combined with other myths in a new religious experience grounded in the experience of its people.

Links to my site:

Introduction https://bibleartists.wordpress.com/2013/07/14/introduction/

Graphic Arts https://bibleartists.wordpress.com/2013/07/14/i-graphic-arts/

Architecture https://bibleartists.wordpress.com/2013/07/14/ii-church-architecture-and-its-incorporation-of-art/

Music https://bibleartists.wordpress.com/2013/07/14/iii-music/

Theology https://bibleartists.wordpress.com/2013/07/14/iv-theology/

Home Page https://bibleartists.wordpress.com/

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