Wednesday, October 25, 2006

The Divine Voice


You know sometimes i think i have my head way too far up my ass, that's why i removed this post - cognitive dissonance - seems others think differently...thank you, i guess actually we all suffer from self-doubt and worth

I guess you can't help no-one if you can't tell them the right story...

I once heard apologetics described as 'love in practice to the thinking man and woman' - i like that because for many people Christianity is a memory or being able to justify religion as a fact or concept without feeling the stunning magnitude of its ethical demands - it's as if the heart of faith has been hidden from us. And so consequently many people are like frail urchins of a graceless existence whose hope lies not in feudal promises but in the luminescence of the human spirit.

Whether driven by courage or desperation many a persons promised land is reached because of a decision to travel the hard road of free-will and self determination in search of peace/love/god. The omnipotent wishing to stride through the front door of heaven with full credentials is something of a distant past - nowadays i get the feeling that the humble simply wish to avoid hell.

And so off the back of my last post, i kind of feel that the pressing difficulty for the communication of faith in present times is the lack of common ground with others; this has little to do with a lack of interest in the central questions addressed by Christianity, rather everything to do with the perception that the church has little authentic involvement in the vital issues.

The abiding purpose surely is to begin to attempt to make some sense out of the world we find ourselves in, with the hope that we might find ways to speak about the divine within it - to quench the thirst for something 'real' enough to withstand the rigours of existence. My take? When there are tears and laughter alongside ritual and prayer and singing, then we will know that Jesus is once more in the world, and i must remeber that the divine voice is not always expressed in words - it is made known as heart-consciousness - a language i think we all need to learn...

Why? It makes us humble, and humility opens our ears. It enables us to acknowledge the truth of who we are and who God is. Only the humble can understand the deep resonance of God's voice in the whole of creation. humility withstands any arrogant tendancy to reduce scriptures and doctrines to our purposes. When we live in humble presence, God may just reveal things to us whilst we read insights that transcend human experience.

Am pretty sure i have blogged this story before, it does though embody the foundation of faith for me:
There's a scene in Thornton Wilder's play 'The angel that trouble the waters' where a doctor suffering from meloncholy comes to the magic pool with healing powers to be healed of his troubles and his gloom and sadness but the angel guarding the water tells him he cannot enter. The man says, 'but how can I live this way?' the angel again says, 'I'm sorry this moment is not for you, this healing is not for you'. So the doctor again pleads 'but I have to get into the water, I can't live this way' And the angel then says...no this moment is not for you, and he says, but how can i live this way? And the angel says to him, doctor, without your wounds, where would your power be? it is your melancholy that makes your lower voice tremble into the hearts of men and women, the very angels in heaven cannot persuade the wretched and blundering children of this earth as can one human being broken on the wheels of living...in loves service, only wounded soldiers can serve....

14 comments:

urbanmonk said...

Outstanding post Harb..

I caught a tiny peek at humility and and posted about it yesterday. You, however, have pulled back the drapes on the entire vista and articulated it so well, where I merely felt in the dark and cut my hand on something beautiful

"When there are tears and laughter alongside ritual and prayer and singing, then we will know that Jesus is once more in the world,"

That is brilliant, as is the wounded soldier stuff.. I remeber the first few months of my faith, I had to leave a sunday morning service and go out in to the backyard of the manse and sit on the kiddies swings and cry my friggin eyes out. i dont even know why. I think I just needed to feel my grief.. its not something you can do in the middle of a Church service.. everything is way to triumphant for lament. That is reason for lament in itslef...

Top post!

urbanmonk said...

BTW - who did this painting?

The Harbour of Ourselves said...

Hey urban,

Thank you so much for your comments - was having a real bum day regarding self doubt - had over heard someone slagging my blog, saying that it was all, blog blog, blah, blah, blah - so i ended up removing the post.
Awareness thank fully persuaded me to pop it back on, so glad someone else got it too
Particularly loved your story about feeling grief - we don't lament enough - i reckon it's the gateway to humility...

not sure who painted the pic - got it from a google search on the name 'whisper' - the title says Oficjalna strona zespoĊ‚u Whisper on the website:
www.whisper.wb.pl/

thanks again fella

urbanmonk said...

Good old Awareness! Shes a legend!

Awareness said...

Hi there.......legend here! hahaha
OK......taking my humble pill now :)

Paul, your gift of writing is inspiring. So often I have read something you've posted and my first urge is.......OMG, when's the next plane leaving for Guernsey, I wanna meet this person.....have a glass or two of wine, and an endless conversation? Unfortunately, life beckons and there isn't a direct flight from Fredericton to Cotlils.

Once again your thoughts, which contain pearls of poetry throughout left me with many thoughts. It's funny but often I read something on Monks or your site that feeds my own thinking. This week the whole idea of humility has been percolating in my brain. In fact, last night it generated a long discussion with my husband and children about what it is to be humble. I will try to capture that later this week on my blog.

IN the meantime..........

I'm with Monk. This is brilliant.

Words spoken can alter their meaning so dramatically when couched in different tones. One simple message or lesson can go from sounding like a demand to a statement to a request to a wish to a hopeful whisper. We may be saying the same words, but our meaning is very different. This is where I think the miscommunication is between the church and the people who hover around the outside of the church. Could it be that the interpretation of the Divine voice is altered because we are hearing the tone differently?

What touches my "heart of faith" what humbles me, and makes me well up inside with a desire to be one of God's believers is when I hear the hushed whispers from the Divine Voice. Sometimes that happens during a sermon (like you Monk, I had that experience too and had no idea where the tears were coming from)..........but more often for me the heartstrings are plucked when I feel that catch in my breath....out in the community living my life.

Today.........it happened when a friend sent me a picture of his newborn baby that had just been taken. All of a sudden my whole attention was focused on a pic of this tiny perfect little girl asleep in a cloud of pink blankets.....a miracle that deeply touched my heart of faith....


It also occured when I was going about doing writing reports while listening to John Hiatt, and there was a piece in one of his songs....the notes were perfect...I had heard them many times before, but for some reason, they stopped me in my tracks........

Thank you for reposting it Paul. I shared it with a couple of friends at work.......printed it off and left it on their desk.

Mata H said...

well, yes ...but ...I agree we need the tears and laughter, the feelings with the faith --- but I know we have to be careful to not base the faith on the feeling -- i.e. if I don't feel in such a way, my faith is gone. Enduring faith is not based on the personally phenomenological. I've seen people who base their faith on their experience so much that when they hit a hard time, they "lose the faith", because somehow they inhabit the logic that if God was real thay wouldn't have a hard time.

You speak of the difficulty in communicating faith nowadays -- and I think that is because people tend to not discuss love. But they attempt to enforce rules.

Anyway, dear fellow, anyone slagging off your blog is a cretin. Tell them I said so :-)

Niki said...

Hey that's not on, that's not on at all. Even if this individual didn't warm to your blog they didn't need to lash out in such a way - they're personal accidents and people find them by way of serendipity, I think. Those who love you stay, those who disagree leave. We are here because we love what you write, and you.

As for the post I'm glad awareness summoned it back because I'm reading it here in the library and I want to cry damnit. The last paragraph especially was beautiful. I'll write more later.

mister tumnus said...

i have slagged off the blogs of people i have been jealous of (for one reason or another) before. sometimes the words are out before i even realise what the truth of the feeling was. i would take bets on that being the case with whoever it was you overheard.

mister tumnus said...

oh, because (i meant to add) your blog is excellent and this post (for example) is wonderful.

Ellen said...

Your post leaves me speechless... except to tell you that it moved a lapsed Catholic into seeing the inner person... a concept I've been too busy to keep up with lately. Thanks for the lesson, and the beautiful words.

The Harbour of Ourselves said...

Am not sure what to say, one thing i don't like about blogs is the kind of 'oh define me' kind of stuff, have always tried to be as real and honest about how i see life - the good the bad and the ugly

you don't need to be einstein to figure out my life is a little rough right now - so all i will say is the support of your words has done more than help, so a simple and heartfelt thanks is where i will leave this...

Or as Leslie Nielsen says in Naked Gun 2 and a half 'give me the stongest thing you got - er maybe a black russian' - surreal i know but it always makes me laugh

salutations to all of you

Rainbow dreams said...

a bit late, but I've not been around.
Please don't forget, everyone has a choice to come here and read your words or not.
Sometimes a few words or a story make us think, act or feel differently. Thats what I see from your blog - don't be hard on yourself.
I do like that scene. I remember reading it before, thanks for posting it again.

The Harbour of Ourselves said...

RD, thank you

Trailady said...

"My take? When there are tears and laughter alongside ritual and prayer and singing, then we will know that Jesus is once more in the world, and i must remeber that the divine voice is not always expressed in words - it is made known as heart-consciousness - a language i think we all need to learn..."

Well stated. Your thoughts and penmanship inspire me. The words you use indicates to me that you have an excellent grasp of both vocabulary and poetry.

My entire life I have searched for something real and for people who are deep enough to share it with me...