A Personal Change

6 June 2007

Recently, some people that I love have made known their concern about my recent religious re-awakening.  When I say “recent,” I mean in the last few years, and I think “re-” is particularly appropriate, since I was pretty religiously-minded for much of my life.

It was disheartening to hear that, I was “so different now.”  I must admit, I don’t really notice the change.  Yes, I have interests now that have lain dormant for years and some interests (in icons, Orthodoxy, clergy gender equality) that are fairly new.

Part of what I’ve been told is that I’m not interested in what I used to be: movies, theatre, literature.  While I don’t think that was completely accurate, it’s safe to say (from my perspective) that I was less interested in these topics that I have been usually.  My interest in cinema, lately, has been close to nil, I’ve been a  little more intersted in theatre, but my interest in literature has been latent, if a little less than usual.

I think things are changing, though.  Partly because I miss and want to reconnect with a lot of my friends, but also because I’m just getting more interested in these things again.

I’ve written about this stuff before.  I think of Dorothee Sölle’s stages of mystical life:   via positiva (wonder, amazement), via negativa (letting go), and via transformativa (healing, resisting).   The via positiva is the honeymoon period, the via negativa is a stage of discomfort where everything is let go of but the essentials: a kind of stripping down.  The via transformativa is where the mystical life is more fully incorporated into the rest of life.  Certainly, things will never be the same, but there is a sense of return and continued struggle, but a less debilitating and desperate struggle than the via negativa.

I feel that things are changing around here, for a variety of reasons.  I like it.

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One Response to “A Personal Change”

  1. Rich Murray Says:

    My Brother J –

    Hear you loud and clear! I’ve been getting the same message from close friends as well. Lost a few of them along the way. I regret those losses, but realize that the path I walk is not for everyone. All folks help us along the way, but some are just not able to go where we are headed (as if we knew where that was!). Along the way, I’ve found new friends who feed my soul (present company included) and I value those friendships for their unique qualities. Viva via transformativa!

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