Tuesday, August 14, 2007

A hot day in August

Universal news:

Karl Rove resigned yesterday. It will be interesting to see how Rove is read in(to) the future, and what historians write. Will Rove end up at a trial, and not as a witness, except in his own defense? Aren’t Rove and Cheney two peas in a pod?

Ingmar Berman died July 30th., the filmmaker of death. Not as in death through gratuitous violence, like so many of today’s movies depict—from Mission Impossible to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre—but death as in “that fateful knocking at the door,” as Woody Allen put it in last Sunday’s New York Times. Bergman made me want to be a movie critic. I remember Bergman’s films as profound statements of the human predicament.

The Project:

This project is the construction of a spiritual biography as a method of spiritual exploration, as a spiritual discipline. It is my personal search for meaning, purpose, and love today.

Maybe the movement of the Spirit is like a haunting. I feel haunted by God. Is this the Spirit’s doing? Is it a memory of faith? Is it a chimera? A residue of evolution? An evolutionary strategy? The project is to get to the bottom of this haunting. What is this ghost inside me? Do I need an exorcist or a way to familiarity with the Ghost?

How does one make sense of the world, the welter of human activities? Events do not just happen. Human personalities, beliefs, and actions are the result of millions of years of evolution, the current cultural milieu, and, maybe, the purpose and hand of God.

Culture is an inclusive myth prevailing in a particular space and time. Calling it a myth does not mean it is not real and that it does not have substantive influence on what happens in the world.

Three people who where important to me in the early 1970s where Thomas Merton, Chuck Smith, and Francis Schaeffer. First, Thomas Merton was important for his book Contemplative Prayer. He was one of the earliest religious writers I read after my “conversion.” Merton was key because of his teaching on contemplation and prayer. Secondly, Chuck Smith because of his apocalyptic rhetoric. I found it fantastic, more akin to science fiction than the bible and religious history. He was an anti-intellectual to my way of thinking. What a vision. Thirdly, Francis Schaeffer, because of his intellectual defense of Christianity.

I have just begun rereading Francis Schaeffer’s book The God Who is There. My idea is to reread, in a systematic way, the key books and to remember and rethink the important influences on my thinking and beliefs. This is the beginning. Well, at least the intellectual beginning of the project.

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