My quest for epiphany is gaining momentum. I realise now that this is a quest of some significance for me and thankfully, I am not on my own. I just subscribed to Kierkegaard In The World in my bid to find more thinkers on my journey. And how long will the journey be? A never ending one I suspect and beyond the last breath. The late [Fr]John O’Donohue is one reflective thinker I am immersed in at the moment . He is a breath of fresh air in my search for oxygen. As a former catholic priest and Irish Hegelian scholar [an interesting mix – think Irish jig and German precision] his writing’s Beauty and Benedictus are enabling me to see that my quest is the right one for me, and a good one and that embracing it is bound to yield fruit. He is enabling me to see that the lifelong nature of it is one I need to embrace as good despite my constant struggle with my past fundamentalist Christian life and practice, my fear of what some family and evangelicals think and the sense of being “alone and palely loitering where no bird sings.”
The experience of hearing voices for three of our family members in 1995 as a result of anxiety and prayer was a turning point for my understanding of the presence of “god” and what the bible is about. The bible is to be read as a story and record of previous experiences of the breakdown of the barrier between humans and god. It is not a formula for the future but a record of the past. Reflecting on Harry Westcott’s story on Compass [ABC Television] last night about hearing the voice of God in O’Connor Uniting Church in 1974 resonated with our experience and how I see the bible. I have taken a different track to Harry in his now fundamentalist literalist charismatic religion that has no appeal for me, at least culturally if spiritually. If epiphanies occur in that religion [Vision Ministries] my suspicion is that they would be lost in the superstructure of what he has formed since trying to hold onto what happened post 1974. This is also what I suspect has happened to the bible. No doubt there are principles that emerge around “experiencing god” from the bible stories but they are not formulas. Ours wasn’t. Harry’s wasn’t. Apart from desperation for knowing – and maybe anxiety and introversion – art, silence and stillness keep on popping up for me as places to be in if there is any chance of educating for awareness and experiencing epiphany. And now I am wondering if this is partly misdirected and that the journey is about living in the world of beauty as itself epiphany and letting go my own religious structures so subtly erected to sail my ego around in and to float with beauty as the wind that constantly shows me more if I am still enough. This breaks down the dualistic nature of religion that emerged early on after the Jesus phenomenon and puts spirituality and the Jesus story into a sensible framework – not formula – that sets me free to explore forever. Once the spirit is embraced as in beauty and life and once beauty and life are embraced as in the spirit then eternal life is now and will be. Benedictus.