Whether we are:
Theists, Atheists, Agnostics
Idealists, Materialsts, Phenomenalists
Realists, Essentialists, Nominalists, Nihilists
Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Taoists, Jews
Ascetics, Aesthetes, Sensualists, Legalists, Libertarians, Libertines
Liberals, Conservatives, Centrists, Center-Left, Center-Right
Capitalists, Communists, Socialists, Fascists, Anarchists
Heterosexual, Homosexual, Transexual, Asexual
Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual, Transgender
Masculine, Feminine, Androgynous
Rich, Poor, Begging, Thieving
Mr. Mrs. Ms. or Miss
We must admit:
The possibilities are seemingly endless and we can mix and match as much as we see fit! Such worldviews give form and structure to experience… Consciously or unconsciously, we define ourselves and others… Categories within categories… Cultures within cultures… Layers upon layers… Our name is legion for we are many…
“Precept upon precept; line upon line . . . here a little, and there a little; that [we] might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken” (Isaiah 28:13).
But has it always been this way? Under Popes and Monarchies, western culture seemed more uniform, perhaps… More stable… More circumscribed… Our available categories relatively limited… Our use of them more strictly choreographed… God was in his Heaven and all was right with the world…
But perhaps this is just a superficial impression. Maybe there was a relative stability and uniformity– at least we can imagine it that way in retrospect –but, if so, it would seem to have been largely imposed from the top down by a power elite who’s worldview (at least to our minds) did not really do justice to reality. In any event, that world is gone and its passing seems to have been marked by the protestant reformation and the subsequent transition from monarchies to democracies.
Progress? Age of enlightenment? Perhaps… But this new-found freedom resulted in an even greater proliferation of social and cultural categories– which resulted in a corresponding proliferation of worldviews and worlds –so that, increasingly (especially in this technically astute, socially networked, post-modern age) each individual seems to have the option of constructing and defending a unique vision of the world. But this raises several seemingly unanswerable questions: In this hall of mirrors,
- What is truth?
- Which world is real?
- Is God, in fact, dead?
- Must the phenomenology of Spirit finally be reduced to the will to power?
For God So Loved The World
“Problems cannot be solved at the same level of awareness that created them.” ~ Albert Einstein
As the quotation, above, suggests, it is unlikely that answers to the preceding questions will be found by those who seek them in moralistic rhetoric, hermeneutical wrangling, or other conceptual gymnastics. But for those who have an ear for it, answers can be found in the “I Am” presence which transcends all social, cultural, and political categories. This is not just the thought that “I am”, but the aware Presence that is prior to thought–the profound sense of Being that is encountered in alert stillness, between each breath we breathe; and in deep silence, between each heartbeat… Indeed, this is the One who is with us always–the One who is given that we might have life and have it more abundantly:
John 3:16 [paraphrased] For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son [to the world], so that everyone who [trusts in and relies on] him may not perish but may have eternal life. 17 “Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Those who [trust in and rely on] him are not condemned; but those who do not [so trust] . . . are condemned already, because they [do not trust] in the name of the only Son of God [“I Am”].
John 10:7 Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I Am the door of the sheep. 8 All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them. 9 I Am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. 10 The thief comes not, but to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I Am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly (KJ2).