Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Faith as a possibility....

We had a long discussion about faith/believing/knowing at the little group I go to on Tuesday mornings today. For some reason I just couldn't get into it too deeply and didn't know why. On the way home, I remembered why...I wasn't 'letting the workshop be the workshop!'

I help lead this "Making a Difference Workshop" where we spend 4/5 of the time either doing centering prayer or dealing in two domains--the domain of experience and the domain of concept.

So, we spend most of the workshop exposing how wed and trapped we are in the domains of concept and experience, where our concepts, which come from our experiences, begin to color and determine future experiences. We 'work backwards' until we can reach the point where we can un-conceal (different from 'reveal' which is why my spell check doesn't like it) a third domain. Experience and concepts are all about 'getting somewhere'. The third domain--the Domain of Possibility--is a place 'to come from...."

Our conversation today was bogged down (as we almost always are) in the two domains of experience and concept, which actually collapse on each other into a vicious circle. What I needed to say, if I'd only remembered to let the workshop work, was to create the possibility of 'faith' or 'believing' AS A POSSIBILITY.

Everything exists in all three domains. God, for example, exists as an 'experience' of God/Spirit/the Holy and a 'concept' of God. But both the experience and concept are dwarfed and transformed by God 'as a possibility', as a creation, as a limitless declaration. God then become a place to 'come from' and BE, not a place of presence or representation. (That's 'doing and having', or 'experience and concept'.)

Am I going too fast? We use three days to do this workshop and I'm trying to re-create it in a blog post!!!

Faith as a possibility helps us to create a future that wouldn't happen anyway.

That's one of the mantras of the workshop--'there are two futures: the one that will come if you just wait and the one you can create that wouldn't happen anyway.'

Faith as a possibility means we bring the limitless possibility of 'faith' into the moment. We 'be' faith, rather than experiencing faith or having a concept of faith. That's why the second rail of the workshop is centering prayer. Centering prayer is a prayer of 'being' rather than 'doing' or 'having'.

I'm not sure any of this is making sense--but I know our conversation today needed a high octane injection of 'being'. We were talking about 'experiencing God' and having 'concepts/traditions/theologies about God. What we needed was God as a limitless possibility to 'come from' into the next moment.

(Coming from 'being' devolves into experience and concept--we call that, my favorite bit of workshop language: 'the ontological cascade' (cool, huh?)--but we can also return to 'being' again and again and 'come from' being by, guess what?, merely 'SAYING SO....'

Should be familiar as a way of creating: "God SAID 'let there be light....."

You know the rest of that.

Maybe next Tuesday I can come from 'Being' into the conversation....Devoutly to be hoped.

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some ponderings by an aging white man who is an Episcopal priest in Connecticut. Now retired but still working and still wondering what it all means...all of it.