Perhaps because I went to bed at dark (9PM)? Perhaps because The therma-rest became less than restful? Perhaps because it was very warm and humid? Whatever the reason I was up at 5AM making coffee, sitting in the dark waiting for the dawn... watching the changing light, listening to the river and watching a few nocturnal squirrels (at least I hope they were squirrels) scurry around.
I saw there for almost an hour. Just sitting ant watching and listening. I can't remember the last time I have sat so still for so long - just being... it felt good. Of course my mind was ever active but I tried to still that too - putting those things I cannot do anything about from here - out of my thoughts and instead focused on the deeper questions I've been pondering of late: the nature of God... if you thought you were in for a light read on this entry you might want to skip to the next one...
I have long been struggling with the historical/traditional understandings of the Divine and our relationship to that mystery. The old theories of atonement, incarnation, virgin birth, redemption and so on and so on... have not worked for me. Some of the struggle is related to the limits of language but the bulk of the struggle has to do with the human arrogance of claiming to know the essence of the Divine and to assert that this is the "only" way to understand/ relate to/experience the Divine,
I picked up a book recently that I thought would assist me in working through some of my struggle: A New Harmony: The Spirit, The Earth and The Human Soul by John Philip Newell. It is proving very helpful in a) affirming that I am not alone in this struggle, b) giving me yet another lens to see and understand, and c) by providing me with yet another framework to re-constuct my ever evolving theology - what I have come to call: Theology of Relation
Carter Heyward, a respected feminist theologian serves as a starting point for me when she says,
We are born in relation, we live in relation, we die in relation. There is, literally, no such human place as simply 'inside myself'. Nor is any person, creed, ideology, or movement entirely 'outside myself’.And, as says Matthew Fox:
Creation is all things and us. It is us in relationship with all things. All things, the ones we see and the ones we do not; the whirling galaxies and the wild suns, the black holes and the microorganisms, the trees and the stars, the fish and the whales - the molten lava and the towering snow-capped mountains, the children we give birth to and their children, and theirs, and theirs, and theirs.
As a result of insight such as those above and others I have come to this place of understanding my experience of God as presence in the space between all things, the energy in the midst of relationship.... and I am not alone. Thomas Berry, ecologist and theologian says,
Everything is integral and interacts with everything else. This means that nothing is itself without everything else. There is a commonality, an integrity, an intimacy of the universe with itself.
John Philip Newell in New Harmony writes:
What name are we to give the One who is with us as the heart of our being and at the heart of all being? How are we to utter awareness of the beuty deep within this moment, the Om of our beginnings, the Sound from which the universe flows forth? ...The name of every creature, every star, every galaxy is the Holy Name. The presence of every person, every parent, every child is the Sacred Presence. The One whose name is beyond definition is the One whose name is each of us, closer than our very breathing.
Sitting by the river this morning watching the dawn unfold drew me ever closer to the Presence - but - a few minutes later I was reminded that I still have a ways to go. While walking over the the bar to do some writing I stopped at the Camp Toll Booth where I met Buck. Buck is from Texas and rode his motorcycle here from Sturgis, SD after attending the annual Sturgis Rally... as he made the comment I was quick to response that I'd not gone to Sturgis and had no plans to go and take in the foolishness there... His reply pointed out the judgement I had made on people who go to Sturgis. Buck said, "Lots of spirit-filled people there..." And it hit me like a ton of bricks. I try to be so open, but still my prejudices get in the way. There are, "lots of Spirit filled people" everywhere. We are all sacred presence...
Well, its 7:21AM. I've had a nice video chat with Anna and I'm thinking that breakfast can be found around the corner about now. Until later.