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meditations part 2: the MACS teacher, passion and coveting

29 Aug

In ‘Silence of the Lambs’ Hannibal Lecter takes Clarice Starling to Rome:
HL: ‘First principles Clarice. Simplicity. Read Marcus Aurelius. Of each particular thing ask: what is it in itself ? What is its nature? …
He covets. That is his nature…we begin by coveting what we see every day.’
We see what we are passionate about every day. The MACS teacher sees youth that are reflections of a deep desire: young people in colleges, experiencing new life. A choice. Possible passions. Their passions though is their students and Their success; the students’ own felt successes in life. (Teachers have other passions, I am sure, but…)
…but this is what and whom the MACS teacher & staff persons choose to see everyday of their life. It is what All-all-see in the summer, at a beach, at rest, on vacation. It is passion.)
And, and …if it were the only seen thing? Then ‘we/I covet and want possession and ownership. That was me; what i was becoming. Coveting is control. Total Control. Then the simple becomes deeply simple: I would become pure passion, pure coveting itself. No balance. No boundary. One simply becomes the other. Passion becomes coveting. A good desire destroys.
Simply destroys. Simply.
It is easy to cross the line between passion and coveting. I have and still am stepping on that emotional tightrope between coveting and passion. It is my nature. When I do step over, I over eat; I buy sports jerseys for myself. I rage, rage against injustice. Anger overwhelms. And, and…if it gets real bad, i am angry. quiet and angry. All the time. My only way back is to pray. I pray the Jesus prayer ‘Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ He is a living God; He knows …
He simply knows. I know that…
Every MACS teacher I have served with loved their kids ; all of them. And they were in balance and passionate and true lovers. I failed them, sometimes well and sometime poorly. But I loved them, these MACS teachers, because of their passion. And they were and are better than I will ever be.
My UK readers and others, please understand this: they -these MACs staff and teachers- were wonders. I think of them every day. In love. With passion.

meditation 12-‘breaking’ bad fruit: idolatry & witchcraft

25 Aug

J.R.R. Tolkien in response to a critical question concerning the placing of total power in the Ring of Sauron in ‘The Lord of the Rings” stated in a letter, ‘The Ring of Sauron is only one of the various mythical ways of treating the placing of one’s life or power in some external object outside oneself which… thus exposes (the person) to capture or destruction with disastrous results to oneself.’

We all do this. Children place their desire on a toy, a ‘new best friend’ at the start of a school term, a doll, a promise, a Christmas day. Adults place their desire in a love, a person, a spouse an ideal, their work, achievement. Or ‘a diamond birthday.’ All of these are idols that we create and recreate through our walk and life. And when we create we ‘place.’ This placement is the worship: we move our internal ultimate value to external object. Our souls to rings. Or to a Ring. Such placement is a form of witchcraft. Paul in Galatians tells us that idolatry And witchcraft work together. (‘and’) How? By creating. And by recreating.Walter White in AMC’s ‘Breaking Bad’ and Lord Voldemort in J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books both place their souls in external objects. They are both worshippers and creators. Idols themselves, made by their own hands. No longer humans, but objects. Fragment and particles. Walter becomes the desire for a ‘name’ and Voldemort is the desire for life eternal. Both change their names; both want to rule in the ‘unknown’ country, the land beyond life. Both are idol worshippers. And both were or desire to be teachers.
Walter White places the black hat on his head and becomes his alias, Heisenberg, the physicist father of Quantum Mechanics, the founder of the Uncertainty principle: particles existing in multiple states and places at multiple times. Walter exists as a chemist, yet also chooses the identity of a physicist for one purpose: to create a name, an object outside himself that will live forever. His fear? Part of what all teachers fear is being forgotten, swallowed up death, or lack of remembrance. Teachers deeply fear that their students certainly won’t remember them. And without memory life loses meaning.(Jesse is such a student who desires to destroy his memories of teacher Walter) Voldemort also desires eternal life through memory. Thus, he creates horcuxes. Objects as Tom Riddle’s Diary, Maravalo’s ring and others. He creates with particles of his unstable soul. Objects that can only be created out of murder. Riddle becomes Voldemort; White becomes black, Heisenberg. Multiple selves in multiple places. In their quests for certainty they become particles of uncertainty. Objects of pure flesh warring with Spirit. Paul closes chapter 5 of Galatians with a statement on their joint fates, ‘those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.’
Idol worship, witchcraft, is bad fruit. It breaks and fragments in our hands, destroying our very self, our souls.

Aside

meditation 10: ‘Spirited Away’

12 Aug

meditation 10: ‘Spirited Away’

fruit of the spirit, kind gentleness-Beauty is…kindness & gentleness, working together as one fruit

People can be raised, born with gentleness, with ‘kind’ touches, voices and seeing yet not probing eyes. Their ‘kindness’ comes in large part from their gentle characters. Some are even born with this ‘gentle’ gift. Some are raised to be gentle. Christians, though, are to be ‘spirited away.’ We are fruit; and we are made, ‘spirited’ by a gift. Then we become one fruit with multiple rich, exotic tastes. Our lives are what are being tasted, by others, our lovers, our children, our family, our friends and community. Ourselves. We are to become gentle kindness.

As I practice the kindness I am not borne but gifted with, I become gentle. Spirited kindness creates gentleness in me. I was borne neither gentle nor kind. I was raised with wolves. Niccolo Machiavelli said in ‘The Prince@ that ‘a man who strives after goodness in all his acts is sure to come to ruin, since there are so many men who are not good.’ Yes, Nick. Quite correct. If I strive, I die in ruin. But if I am ‘Spirited…

Slowly I am reformed in another, His, image. This is the practice of a Christian walk; it is practice and fruit of the spirit. I cannot do it by my own will for any sustained period. If I try on my own, if I strive, l become a Real Zombie soon enough; created by my own sinful desire, without His Spirit. A hallow man. A Zombie who can’t feel; can’t taste. I devour what I see more and more. Even the desire to be ‘goodness’ will devour. I taste nothing. I become Zombies, yes Zombies in the plural. Multiple, real real aspects of my own sinful desires that seek to become flesh, my own flesh and blood. Zombies. And I battle them every day. Sinful desires that also want my Spirit. And I lose some days. But other days I am healed. I become real, living, Spirited.

Paul speaks of how a hurt brother or sister is to be restored in Galatians: ‘Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted’. Galatians 6:1

Paul is telling us, me, a Real Zombie can come back to a living being. We Zombies just need gentleness, kind gentleness. How? Who heals?

Gently, as a physician setting or putting in place a broken bone. That is how. That is the meaning of the English word “restore.” ‘Restore’ translates a Greek word (katartizein), a word with multiple meanings. Its primary meaning as a Greek word is ‘to set a broken bone.’ A broken bone is both painful and useless. The broken leg doesn’t walk. The broken hand doesn’t hold. The broken limb simply doesn’t work. And it is painful. Pain needs, thirsts for gentleness, kindness. My definition of ‘restore’ is Spirited. Physicans gently restore spirit by the Spirit. That is my thirst, a desire to taste His Spirit.

Years past I was hit by a car when crossing a street. My leg was shattered in two places. After many months I started physiotherapy. I will never forget my first day in the physio office: directly across the way from me in an adjoining room sat a woman gently caressing her leg, recently broken and slowly healing. There was, there is something about a gentle touch that heals; even if you do it to, for, yourself. And we, she, did not do it once but many times, back and forth her hands moved over her scarred leg. We need this touch to be, to become human. And then we need the Spirit’s touch to become more than human, but never less than ourselves. We need the Spirit’s touch o become like Him. A living touch that is not afraid to reach out and heal, even a Zombie that threatens to devour. A gentle, kind touch.

This is fruit: gentleness and kindness working together. One is begetting the other; kindness growing as a child forming other acts of kindness. This is His Spirit.: fruit bearing fruit, gentleness forming/engendering kindness. Kindness, in its turn creating gentleness. Goodness ruining evil.

Taste and see; taste and envision; taste fruit of His Spirit and live. This is living fruit that gives life. Good Life. His life. He is good.