Monday, January 25, 2016

Mystical Limpets and Metaphors

Our God is a metaphor.

It is all that we know of Him. He is a puzzling reflection in a mirror. A verbal imagery, an incomplete explanation. A story that we tell to each other and to ourselves.

It's a true story, a true image and true reflection. But our eyes can't see it completely, our ears don't hear Him perfectly and our minds can't comprehend Him in His totality.

There are more colors in the universe than the human eye can really see. Sounds that our ears can't hear. And there is so much more in God than we can ever understand on this earth.

According to Wikipedia "A metaphor is a figure of speech that identifies something as being the same as some unrelated thing for rhetorical effect, thus highlighting the similarities between the two."

We say God is love. God is life. He is the bread of life. He is the living water. He is the Word. He Is.

We describe Him through what we know is good, worthy and noble.

C. S. Lewis has an interesting story. He talks about the way the limpets and limpet mystic would understand what is a man in his book Miracles.

"Let us suppose a mystical limpet, a sage among limpets, who (rapt in vision) catches a glimpse of what Man is like. In reporting it to his disciples, who have some vision themselves (though less than he) he will have to use many negatives. He will have to tell them that Man has no shell, is not attached to a rock, is not surrounded by water. And his disciples, having a little vision of their own to help them, do get some idea of Man. But then there come erudite limpets, limpets who write histories of philosophy and give lectures on comparative religion, and who have never had any vision of their own. What they get out of the prophetic limpet’s words is simply and solely the negatives. From these, uncorrected by any positive insight, they build up a picture of Man as a sort of amorphous jelly (he has no shell) existing nowhere in particular (he is not attached to a rock) and never taking nourishment (there is no water to drift it towards him). And having a traditional reverence for Man they conclude that to be a famished jelly in a dimensionless void is the supreme mode of existence, and reject as crude, materialistic superstition any doctrine which would attribute to Man a definite shape, a structure, and organs."

"Our own situation is much like that of the erudite limpets. Great prophets and saints have an intuition of God which is positive and concrete in the highest degree. Because, just touching the fringes of His being, they have seen that He is plenitude of life and energy and joy, therefore (and for no other reason) they have to pronounce that He transcends those limitations which we call personality, passion, change, materiality, and the like. The positive quality in Him which repels these limitations is their only ground for all the negatives. But when we come limping after and try to construct an intellectual or ‘enlightened’ religion, we take over these negatives (infinite, immaterial, impassible, immutable, etc.) and use them unchecked by any positive intuition. At each step we have to strip off from our idea of God some human attribute. But the only real reason for stripping off the human attribute is to make room for putting in some positive divine attribute. In St Paul’s language, the purpose of all this unclothing is not that our idea of God should reach nakedness but that it should be reclothed. But unhappily we have no means of doing the reclothing. When we have removed from our idea of God some puny human characteristic, we (as merely erudite or intelligent enquirers) have no resources from which to supply that blindingly real and concrete attribute of Deity which ought to replace it. Thus at each step in the process of refinement our idea of God contains less, and the fatal pictures come in (an endless, silent sea, an empty sky beyond all stars, a dome of white radiance) and we reach at last mere zero and worship a nonentity."

What can we do?

Accept that our God is a metaphor? Strip Him of all this human made images, stories and attributes? Leave Him empty and naked, a nonentity like C. S. Lewis says?

The Bible doesn't tell us everything about God. It doesn't tell the whole truth of God or even the universe. But it tells us everything we need to know. And it tells it in a way we can understand it.

We are told stories and metaphors. Because we now only see as a puzzling reflection and one day we will be able to see everything with perfect clarity and know everything completely.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Electronic Devices and Mothering - Bringing the Joy and Magic Back

My son has a very controlled screen time

He isn't able to use the computer, tablet, TV or video games for hours time.

This is especially during the week days, on weekends, I'm a bit more lenient.

But even then, if we have the opportunity, we rather leave the house and not even see the devices for the whole day, worse yet, use them.

This hasn't always been this way, he used to be able to spend much more time on line, gaming or watching TV.

It is easy and can even seem that as parent we are doing the best for our children if we allow them to enjoy these things. 

Many people have told me that a person in today's society needs to know how to use different machines and devices.

We depend on the computers for work, for everything.

My son seemed to be spending more and more time sitting down and not doing anything.

And when it was time to be a responsible parent and tell him to turn the device off.

It wasn't that easy.

We just had a conversation about this with my son and husband.

How my and my husband's lives were different in our childhood.

How we were the last generation to have a childhood without computers, computer games or game consoles.

My son was very certain when he said that today people cannot live without them.

According to him there are no more works a person can do without a computer.

And that is what it seems.

Since we live in a developing country I was able to point out that there are still many people who don't use computers in their work.

There are people who have never used a computer in their life.

These people are rapidly disappearing.

For my son it was hard to imagine a family without a computer.

We were able to tell him that the important thing is to make the machine or device our servant, not our boss or owner.

It might be a handy tool but it shouldn't be the reason to live.

If I have learned something in my life it's that suffering is the best teacher.

When we suffer the lack of something we are motivated to reach out, to work for a goal, to practice and to endure.

But if we have everything, we are content to be stuck in the same place, without changing anything.

This does not mean that I make my son suffer.

Although he does accuse me of that.

Especially when I tell him to turn the device he's currently using off.

And he's also certain that I enjoy his suffering.

But what I really enjoy is to see him aspire and dream.

To long for things, to hope for something, to miss something, to sense that there is something to live for, that tomorrow will bring something he will enjoy.

So many children and youth today have at the beck and call everything they might want and need. 

And it seems they have lost the meaning of life. 

They are bored, there is no reason to exist.

The magic and joy has been leached out of their lives.

Let's not saturate our children's lives but make them aspire for something better!

Let's give them a reason to look forward!

To yearn for the next day to come.

To believe that there will be better moments ahead.

To have faith that life is worth living.

Monday, January 11, 2016

HOPE - My Word for 2016

And his name shall be the hope of all the world.”
Matthew 12:21

Have you tried choosing a word for the year, instead of doing New Year's resolutions?

I made a resolution long time ago to never do New Year's resolutions any more.

I was never able to keep them and they just brought stress and disappointment to my life.

I would feel like I let myself down when I couldn't keep the promises I had made to myself.

Even though I knew they were unreal and I was never going to be able to keep them, already when I made them.

Couple of years ago I learned from other bloggers about the One Word 365 or #OneWord365 where you choose one word for the year.

One word that sums up who you are, who you want be, or how you want to live.

Or a word that you pray and ask God to give you.

My one word for 2015 was Joy.

Joy is very different from happiness, it is deeper and it usually comes through suffering.

And it the word made me extremely nervous.

But God surprised me once again.

There has been suffering and pain, but there has been happiness and definite joy.

During the last year, me and my husband came together after three years of separation and decided to work things out.

It isn't perfect and there are many things that still hurt me and make our life together difficult.

But at the same time there has been a lot of joy.

And I'm sure there will be even more joy this year 2016.

Which brings me to this year's word.

After asking God, I have felt the word for 2016 is HOPE.

It is a good word.

I am filled with joy to have hope in my life.

To wish and aspire and trust, to have faith and hope, that tomorrow will be even better.

That God has my life in His hands, that I'm safe, and that He knows where He is taking me.

So I pray for you Gentiles that God who gives you hope will keep you happy and full of peace as you believe in him. I pray that God will help you overflow with hope in him through the Holy Spirit’s power within you.
Romans 15:13