I have to admit, I’m, in a Pooh like mode, scratching my head and trying to think think think. So much is swirling around in there, research that I’ve been doing that is feeding online conversations I’ve been having and it’s getting to be quite a muddle.
Like-How do you define the transcendent? Over at Zoecarnate there is a fantastic discussion going on. I have to admit, it’s making me think long and hard about how I communicate, and it’s making me stretch my perceptions. I love it when that happens.
I’m a writer. I love words, but I also see on a constant basis their limitations. There is always a space between what I the writer am trying to say, and what the reader is percieving. Reviews teach you a lot. The first thing it teaches is that EVERYTHING is subjective. One editor LOVES the work, thinks it’s brilliant, totally gets it and what youare trying to convey. Another editor can’t understand it at all and either rejects it or wants to change everything about it-including the names of the characters. Is one wrong and the other right? I, personally, didn’t like Cold Mountain. Are all of the people who loved it and made a movie out of it wrong? No, of course not. It’s all subjective. That’s the beautiful thing about God. He has no one way of doing things. As many people live on this planet is how many ways God shows us his limitless creativity and glory. He is not Infinite the adjective, He is Infinite the noun.
So the other day they were talking about deconstruciton of certain denominational phrases (the Holy Spirit) and I developed an opinion after thinking about it for a few days.
Look at all those words that try and convey the different meanings and shades of love. It made me wonder, How do you define the transcendent? CAN it be defined?
You are lying in your bed with your mate in post coital bliss. You are overcome with love for them. How do you even begin to define the depth of your emotion? How can a four letter word with it’s huge definition accurately portray our feelings? It can’t! But we muddle on with this silly four letter word and we use it becuase it’s short hand for a universal emotion that is bottomless.
In turn, how can we accutately describe an encounter with the Spirit of the living God that is beyond mere words. Yes, Mere words. We do it by creating a shorthand that holds meaning for the circles in within the denominations. There is overlap, there always is, and those people are the bridge builders, but for the most part, each denomination creates it’s shorthand for an experience that defies the boundries of words.
To parse it down even further, and to take myself as an example, I love my husband, but I do not love my husband in the way I did when we were first married, and when I am married 30 years I will not love him as I do now. Growth brings us to the saying, “You can never step into the same river twice.”
Can that four letter word portray the constant change of the emotion? No, of course not. God is the I AM. He encompases all that is, was, and will be. Mere words cannot define the vastness and depth of what He means, and how He ministers to each of us. Everyone’s experience with the Holy Spirit is unique to that person, and thankfully so!
If we look at this all from a different persepctive. There is a lot of intellectual discussion going on about things of the Spirit, but the intellect likes definitions and it likes to place things precisely so. It’s rational and it has an important function. It keeps us safe and secure and I’m not saying those things with a bad connotation. But it also ikes to Label. This is Us that is Them.
“There’s Russia, here’s America–see how it can potentially get you into trouble? “…and this is separate from that…and I’m separate from you…and the child is separate from the adult…and the animals are separate from the people…and the people are separate from the Diety…and this tribe is separate from that tribe…and this race is separate from that race…” Separate from, better than, worse than. Divisions which can get you in trouble. It’s terrific when you say, “Oh, this is a fern and that is a tree and this is a rose…” And then it can be very nice. But when it gets into, “Our guy is better than your guy, our spears are bigger than your spears” –that’s when it gets into trouble.*1
The same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead dwells in you. (Romans 8:11)
The wind that is the hurricane, is the same wind that is the gentle cooling breeze. The water that is the Tsunami is the same water in the bathtub. The same earth that Adam was, is the same earth I will become.
When Columbus set off for America his sailors thought they were going to fall off the end of the earth. Finis. That was their understanding, their perspective, their world-a waterfall into nothing. On the old maps it used to say, “That way there be dragons.” where they had not explored.
The same world that Columbus and his peers KILLED for (it was heresy to believe the earth was round and circled around the sun) is the same earth that is bouyed on a web –Columbus and his peers just coudn’t fathom the I AM. They tried to understand Him though their limited experience and vision. Aren’t we doing exactly the same when we discount a brother experience becuase we don’t understand it and it doesn’t fall into our frame of reference?
All this blabbering and where am I going?
It’s OK to not understand everything. It’s OK to shrug your shoulders and write it up to another paradox of God. He loves them, you know.
*1 The Goddess Celebrates-An Anthology of Women’s Rituals edited by Diane Stein pg 27 (research book)