Friday, August 23, 2013

The Absence

Father Stephen has a post up on God's absence on the Cross, which I think is pretty good. I am going to steal his punchline, but people should go read the whole thing anyway:

If anything, we should beware of a piety that glosses over the bleakness of the Cross, or too easily transforms it into a doctrinal event. The ultimate problem of man is not intellectual – it is existential. In the words of the elder Sophrony:

Stand at the edge of the abyss until you can bear it no longer. Then have a cup of tea.

Now, what elder Sophrony suggest is more or less what my spiritual life consists of these days. The void, which has been around since my baptism in the Holy Spirit when I was fifteen or so, and then a weird dream I had about the sun, which of late tends to superimpose itself on the void. The dream simply consisted of me being in close orbit to the sun- near enough to where I'd be fried. Subsequently, during the superimpositions post-dream, I'm close enough to the sun to see the curvature, get vertigo, and remind myself not to freak out because if were really there I'd be dead long before the vertigo got to be an issue.

The sun is disconcerting, but the void is too. I can get vertigo from the void, like falling through the dead black of space, far away from any galaxy. What I did when I was fifteen was ask a few adults about various experiences I had. They did not seem to know what I was talking about. I have since found scraps here and there which indicate to me this is not totally unknown to Christianity.

I must mention again you should read Father Stephen's piece, primarily because this post isn't about what his post is about. This post is about the absence of advice.

There are Christians older than me. There are Christians with titles. There are Christians, seemingly, with power. There are heirarchies, and there are also, of course, friends. But there is also a different sort of evidence of absence, an amnesia. There are mentions of things only found by young adventurers and old traditions. I do not know where I am, and it seemed to me, especially when I was younger, that the elders should be able to make it clear to me. Now, I do not know where I am and I make the proverbial tea. I do get a little worried that most folks seem to think the full reality is just what is going on inside the boat, and that they either don't notice, or actively avoid noticing the deep.

But again, I do not know where I am, so how am I to judge?

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