One of the recent assigned readings for our CFDM study this month is a short-ish essay by Gerald May called “Entering the Emptiness.” I was frankly blown away by this piece, which concerns a living philosophy of “spaciousness” in our physical and spiritual lives.
I jotted the following notes while and after reading, reflecting on a dinner-time conversation from the previous evening:
The “secular world” may have “taken God out of the schools and out of the courts” [as one of my dinner companions complained] — but American Christian culture has allowed free time to be co-opted by busy-ness and entertainment.
If God is inescapably intertwined with time, as some mystics argue, and yearning for God is awakened by “spaciousness and quiet,” as May says, can we really blame just one segment of our culture for general Godlessness? Does a dim bulb have have a right to curse the darkness, or should it simply focus on shining brighter… and shut up?
The latter approach will draw more out of the darkness than any amount of palaver, castigation, complaint, or diatribe. What we have to offer is what May calls “sunlight and fresh air toward which the buried ugliness of our souls crawl in search of healing.”
And therein is the rub: before others see the light, in spaciousness the light is able to also shine fully on our own failings — what May refers to as “the liberating dis-ease of truth.”
So, American Christians –like the culture around us, discomfited by what we find in solitude, silence, and space — continue to fill our non-work hours with “more pleasurable work,” according to May.
Something to think about.