Friday, December 4, 2009
Spiral ~ or ~ Nebula? (RevGals Virtual Retreat)
I would venture that, like most processes which we are so inclined to structure in linear and hierarchical ways, our relationship with God also might be better understood as a spiral.
Elizabeth Kobler-Ross's work on five stages of grief ~ certainly refined today into an understanding of a process more akin to a spiral. Or, as I recently read as the advice given to another suicide survivor by her counselor: a house, a house with many rooms which one visits in no particular order and with no limit set on time of stay or repetitions.
John Newton's idea of our spiritual journey as movement from desire to conflict to contemplation and peace ~ also, I think, better understood as a spiral, or as a houseful of rooms. Walter Bruggemann's century-later understanding of the Psalms as a journey from orientation to dis-orientation to new orientation ~ the same. And Brueggemann sees in the Pslams a framework for understanding the journey of Jesus.
Does Jesus' journey also spiral?
Truthfully, I am not so convinced of the spiral metaphor any longer, or the house metaphor either. I am thinking more in terms of nebulae. I don't actually know a thing about nebulae other than what I've just read in wikipedia, but the photographs I've seen of them must be well-embedded in my brain because: when I think back over the journey of the last 15 months, the image of a nebula is what comes to mind. When I think of God's creation: there it is, in beginning forms. When I imagine Jesus' journey and his effect on us: perhaps a similar pattern. And when I imagine the Holy Spirit: yes, a nebula.
Chaotic swirls of matter, mixing life and death, forming clusters that break apart and reform, perhaps coalescing someday into stars and light.