Fresh Squeezed Divinity
Once upon a time, there were juicers that simply "squeezed real hard," leaving you with a glass of your favorite fruit without any of the "crap." We know now, thanks to the health freaks out there, that the crap is good for us and we should leave it in the juice. A few months ago a good friend of mine was eating an apple. After a dozen bites or so, I noticed it was gone. I wondered to myself, "Did he throw it out of the window without me noticing? Is he a magician and I just didn't know it?" He had done something I'd never seen before. He at the whole stinkin' apple...core, seeds and all (I hope he remembered to take the sticker off the skin." You see, the WHOLE apple is good for you...not just the flesh and the skin...the WHOLE thing.
In contemporary/popular spirituality, I think we, too, are "squeezing real hard." It's not with poor intentions, either. We want to "do the will of God" in everything. What we really want are the blueprints to life. I'm guilty of this, especially as of late. I'm in the middle of a vocation transition right now--which is a gentle way of saying, "I'm unemployed." I've got all these competing thoughts, ideas, dreams, etc. about the future--can't God just help me out a bit. That's what I need--a heavenly caddy--to tell me how far from the whole I am, what the wind conditions are, and what club I should hit. Then, all I have to do is execute.
And believe me, it isn't just job hunting where this kind of pietistic/superstitious/voo doo kind of spirituality invades our life. For you, maybe it's trying to figure out what educational track to head down. Or, here's a big one, RELATIONSHIPS. Should we pursue this relationship? Should we keep this one going? Maybe we should end this long term romantic relationship?
Maybe if I pray enough, fast enough, read enough, and talk enough God will send me a blueprint. Maybe I will have a dream, which for me would suck, because I never remember my dreams. So, I'll need a dream followed by a blueprint in the mail or something. That would be much appreciated. If we could just somehow discern and hear a clear word from God on what he WILLS me to do...
Have I set you up enough yet?
I think the problem is that we are trying to get some fresh squeezed divinity. We want to separate out everything else...to get rid of all the crap. If we can just get the pure stuff, then we'd be able to make a decision about a career, a move, a degree track, or a relationship. So, why do we do this? We are human right? Created beings? Created to think and reason and have emotion and yada yada yada. Why, then, do we think God expects us to throw all that out when we are pursuing things in life? Aren't we better off living with the human-divine paradox in our lives. Jesus is the epitome of this paradox...fully man...fully God. His humanity and divinity are maddeningly combined and lived out in him. Can God forsake himelf?
I propose that we don't search merely for the pure divine essence that will make all things make sense and be right in our world. Sometimes, certainly, God will make things more clear than other times. But we can't trick him into doing it...or even plead and convince him to. If he does, great. But don't expect to fully separate what is divine from what is human. We've all been created fully human with a significant divine spark. Redemption and life ought to be about allowing those two things to move TOWARDS one another in some kind of unexplainable paradox...instead of always trying to separate one from the other with our juicing blend of spirituality.