Dunedin, New Zealand, my city - my people

Monday, April 23, 2012

The diamond is LOVE... or lov-ing.

Congratulate me!
In doing up my bathroom pulled out of my bathroom a whole lot of hardboard, some wet-wall board, a toilet cistern and a vanity unit top. Now many of these things were still OK so normally I would choose hoard them for some future time when I might need them. All this rubbish was lying on the back lawn and I began to look through it to see what was redeemable and where I would store it. Then I stopped. Would there be a time in the future when I needed them? I already have hoarded too much stuff - "just in case"? I decided that a trip to the rubbish tip was called for. I loaded it all into the old Nissan. I then went through a couple of cupboards and pulled out three old heaters I had kept, "just in case", stripped some screws and wires off them and threw them in. Two old lounge chairs minus the wooden bits (free firewood) also went in. Off to the rubbish dump we went. Some good stuff went to the shop there, the rest got chucked. At my age it is time to begin cutting down on keeping stuff. Congratulate me for the personal growth involved.
Last post's "Diamond"
In my last post, my Sunday sermon outline, I said that truth was like a diamond with different aspects or facets to it, and one needed to "see" the whole and not just focus on one facet. I got to walk up my Mount Cargill again today and while walking was stewing on "truth". I had an "ah ha" experience! Truth is not a set of dogmas. It is not a set of philosophical statements about life or religion or philosophy.  Ultimate Truth is love, mysterious, indefinable and expansive. So the diamond is in reality "Love".   Love has different facets to it. Sometimes love requires forgiveness. Sometimes love calls us to affirm people. Sometimes love is seen in comforting people. At other times love is seen in challenging people and disturbing them. Love is essentially valuing people, and treating them as very important. But love has different ways of expressing itself, depending on the needs of the people. These are the facets of "Truth". Sometimes that will mean challenging or confronting people. That is where it may be the loving act to remind people of their "sin".  But love has a broad range of expressions through which one values people in action. The call of my faith is to live in such a way that I value people as being "a little lower than God" or "made in the image of God". (So Jesus could be reported to have said "as you have done it to the least of these.. you have done it to me.")
Truth is a verb!
As I pounded my way around the mountain I had another inner "ah ha" thought. I would want to say that Truth is not so much some abstract ideal named "love", but rather Truth is "loving"... the verb ... truth is not discovered in philosophising, in theologising or intellectualising.  Truth is "known" in the activity of loving. So John who wrote the letters of John could say, "The person who loves knows God". When you are in the activity of loving somehow a penny drops in your "gut" and you "know" ...  You might say to yourself something like ... "Wow! THIS is REAL!" ... or just sense the sacred.

I have mentioned this story before. A reporter once asked a ballet dancer to describe what the dance she just did meant. The dancer replied, "If I could describe it in words I would not have bothered dancing it!" Its the same with ultimate Truth. Words don't cut the mustard. Words, dogma etc cheapen it! The truth is found not in talking or writing about love, but in dancing the dance of unselfish, generous loving and living. And ..... "the Truth sets you free". 

I don't expect you will understand this burble... that's the nature of ultimate truth. You dive deeper into "mystery"- that which cannot be defined. Words scratch the surface of it, and I am certainly not eloquent enough to do justice to this train of thought and experience. Anyway that was where my mind went as I puffed my way, at speed, up and down the mountain. I have had my "day off" and part of my work tomorrow is to talk with the representative of the residents' committee from the locality where the Night Shelter is. There are some difficulties he complained about in a phone call. I have to work out how we can love the local residents and still love the homeless? Nobody said love, or involvement was easy! ... I know a man who got crucified doing it!


Anthony said...

I understand the "burble" perfectly well. I was up on your mountain on Sunday, as you were, but at the start of the day, not the end. You are very inspiring. Although you are "dancing the dance", you also speak about it and describe it very well. I fall so far short of your ideals I'm probably not fit to comment... But I feel like I am sitting at one of your church sermons on a Sunday, but receiving the raw, real version, as you're no doubt speaking your mind much more here. I am quite intrigued by the attitude that Christ may not have intended or wanted to found a religion or movement in his name, but was leading by example and showing the way... being the way, in fact... And that "worship" is still for the Big Guy. Does that mean you do not worship Christ as some sort of intermediary, but follow him as the supreme example? Or is he indistinguishable from God? I don't really expect you to answer questions like these, but you realise your thoughtful writings throw up lots of questions along with the wisdom.

Keith Harris said...

Dave, don't stop writing in this vein. I don't know how many people you are reaching through your blog, neither do I know how many stump up to your Sunday sermons. I do know that by means of your blog you have been giving me stuff to think about.