Wednesday, May 2, 2007

a perichoretic lifestyle

What does it mean to live in and around the life of God? Are we really bringing truth to the world? Or are we just caught up in the truth that embraces us, dwelling in time and space, that reflects through us? Rather than some watered down and vague description of an ultimate existence, what place does the trinitarian God play in unfolding an understanding of God's life in this world in conjunction with mine and yours? The inter-play of these, yielding one to another, exposes and presents for me, the picture of God whose very relational existence, speaks of a movement much more intimately involved in all of life than we could ever imagine or even hoped could exist. The circle dance of God's existence is a lifestyle I'm wondering about...what does it look like? What does it mean for me, those I encounter and the event going on between us? What does it mean then to be 'sent' (missio) in this God's name? Am I really 'sent' from a place of static existence or am I centrifugally propelled from a pre-existing presence/momentum breathing through me? In what ways can Rublev's icon of the Holy Trinity become a window through which we wonder about and engage in Gods' mysterious and holy communion with humanity and all creation?

This emerging journey has led me into a lifestyle that is more interested and intrigued with listening and learning than talking and teaching. If I have become the expert, woe is me! If I can be so arrogant as to try to communicate the mind of God, woe is me! If I become the sole voice, echoing my own misunderstood assumptions and perceptions of truth, which have more to say about me and my own myopic and biased environments that have shaped me, woe is me!

This listening and learning is, for me, being grafted into a partnership within God's Spirit revealed through discernment in the lens of a guy named Jesus, the words, people and circumstances that testify to him and the people of my own learning community. This 'learning community' of which I speak includes what some may refer to as 'insiders' and most especially 'outsiders' (I personally don't prefer such designation for those who like the reduce the church to this most simplest form of complexity, the binary, and who can all too often and conveniently include themselves among such elite places).

God's perichoretic movements take place around those who are beyond my familiar and comfortable life, those who engage my imagination of God's presence in and through them, helping me to develop a broader experience of God's voice and activity. Who is this circle for me that God is using? It is my Greek Orthodox friend Father Nicholas as I bump into him while picking up my children as he also waits for his or who, over coffee, teaches me the riches of an Eastern tradition that is in many instances and at once neglected/dismissed and simultaneously deeply rich and profound. It is through other parents who share a similar place in life as we, with our children, can gather with them to journey in the blessing and challenge of raising kids. It is through conversations with and among those who deeply care about the choices we as humans make around our relationships and the environment and their ability and concern to create sustainable and healing structures and lifestyles for healthier ways of relating. It is through voices searching to articulate the thoughts and movements of God on both mystical and practical levels. It is through conversations around philosophical constructs that challenge and deconstruct frameworks by which I've thought were solid foundations of truth and meaning, church and God.

There is freedom in this dance...for the joy of dancing comes (even as this pilgrim with two left feet can resist the dance) in the fluid movement, the give and take, the dynamic God-between, which involves me in ways beyond myself. Getting 'caught up', to use the apocalyptic language of John's Revelation, I am listening and learning what it means to not so much become a holding tank for God's Spirit, as a broken and porous vessel through whom God's breezes blow. For in many ways and often, I hear this wind's sound, but don't always know from where it comes.

Use me, O Lord, as an instrument of your love, as one through whom you breathe to create sounds of silence and movements of Spirit.


Anonymous said...

A porous vessel. Just as Jesus was after the crucification. Just as we all are in filling our shopping carts, often with items that are not needed, items that are more about packaging than content or utility, items that will soon pass out of existence.

A porous vessel. I like it.

Russ said...

Nice post, Dave.

tamie said...

I appreciate your reflections on the Trinity, on the specificity and complexity of the Christian understanding of the Divine. This kind of thoughtfulness is exactly what's needed in the church. Thanks, compadre.