26.10.11

The Age-Old Struggle

As far back as Babylonian literature (which we have some record of), we humans have storied the struggle of life—a struggle variously cast as chaos versus order, good versus evil, freedom versus oppression.

Our most popular films and books today still probe this dynamic. The good guys and the bad guys are the stuff of action, conflict, and triumph.

Some people believe this has arisen mostly from humanity's struggle with forces of nature. And, needing a way to articulate this struggle and feel some sense of meaning within it, we have turned to myths and spiritual stories.

There is some truth to that.

But there is another truth put forward by the bible: the physical is an extension of the spiritual. The "battles" we experience within the world and ourselves are rooted in another dimension.

This is the subject of chapter 8 of Sanctuary of the Soul.

The other day my daughter and I watched a TED talk about the universe. Even the physicist who presented it admitted he could not completely wrap his mind around what I would call the eternal nature of matter and dark matter. Even the universe presents us a mystery and a drama and a wondering: will there be a happily ever after? who controls this, if anyone?

Watching the talk, I suddenly felt how small I am and how large is the mind of God. If Satan is simply an angel, he too is small in comparison. Perhaps this is all we need remember. This, and the practice of seeking the Mind that rules not just this world but all that is beyond it and beyond and within time.

As Foster notes, we might be tempted to consult lesser things, and these might bind us: witchcraft, astrology, tarot, palmistry, spirit guides, Ouija boards. They might give us the illusion that we control our share of the world and the universe.

Why live in that place? When we can live in the Eternal, through the connection of Christ and his Spirit?

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7 Comments:

Blogger Maureen said...

Some time ago I watched a series (I think it was at On Being) in which scientists talked about their concept of God or the Eternal and their conflicts with ideas about Creation. Krista Tippett has published an interesting book on the subject.

This post calls to mind and perhaps even makes for an interesting contrast with a recent Rilke quote at A Year with Rilke, in which Rilke addresses Christianity's focus on the afterlife, calling a "danger" this "longing for the Beyond...[that] makes us less present and earthy...."

This also raises interesting questions about free will and what is ordained.

26.10.11  
Blogger L.L. Barkat said...

I'm glad you mentioned that "earthy" thing. It was on my mind here, but I didn't want the post to get too long :)

I think we absolutely have to focus on the now. It's the knife-edge though. Maybe another post is in order :)

26.10.11  
Blogger sarah elwell said...

Interesting. Much food for thought here. I come from a spiritual tradition which taught me I *can* control my share of the world and the universe - that I am a co-creator alongside God. I am now sorting through learned beliefs and my own experiences to decide what it is I actually believe, have faith in, within my own heart.

26.10.11  
Blogger L.L. Barkat said...

Sarah, thanks for saying that. We surely *do* control some part of our world, and should.

Maybe it's just the seeking of weird control through alternative "powers" that seemed like... not such a good idea to me :)

26.10.11  
Blogger diana said...

Amen to all of this. Lovely, thoughtful post, L.L. And yes, Sarah, we are invited into a kind of co-creator partnership with God - small as we are. Boggles the mind.

It is good to be reminded - in whatever way we find (like the TED talk, or the Tippett book) - that God is far greater than we are, far more than we can even imagine.

There's an interesting small book from a Franciscan scientist (Ilia Delio, a nun) called The Cosmic Christ that touches on this whole topic in some mind-blowing ways, using writings on spirituality, both early and current. Not sure I agree with her conclusions - or even understand them all! - but it sure did cause me to think, reflect and worship in some new ways.

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Blogger ~ linda said...

"...I suddenly felt how small I am and how large is the mind of God. If Satan is simply an angel, he too is small in comparison. Perhaps this is all we need remember. This, and the practice of seeking the Mind that rules not just this world but all that is beyond it and beyond and within time."
Temptation into "other worldly spirit stuff" is so prevalent. I was pulled in, or maybe I just walked in their open door, and believed and didn't believe for several years. So confused, I was! So confused! Finally, I was able to see clearly enough to walk away and feel freedom in my soul. It began to grow and release me until I came to the door of Jesus Christ. I knocked and He let me in! I praise Him!
Caring through Christ ~linda

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Blogger Ted M. Gossard said...

Amen, L.L.! Good for us to get a glimpse on just how amazing creation it. How we are so small in comparison. And yet intricately woven into God's design and plan in and through Jesus.

1.11.11  

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