Wednesday, January 16, 2002

Quick book plug and then a few random (HA!...I think we've covered that topic) thoughts. "Decent into Hell" by Charles Wiliams is a strange and beautiful book written by the less know of the big three Inkling (Tolkien, Lewis and Williams...and others). His writing is so confusing at times I'm not sure that I can give a carte blanc endorsement of the whole work but he addresses two ideas that are facinating. First, he is able to discuss the manifestation of sin and evil using the Lilith mythology and a character who actually interacts with her/it/him. A very dark and accurate description of how our deepest places of selfishness can become the breeding ground for the brith of something quite contray to both enjoyment and life...but all consuming none-the-less. The manner in which the character Wentworth slides into a hellish (and Hell itself) existance is chilling and powerful. Secondly, Williams is able to communicate the manner and effect of carrying each other's burdens. It seems at first read, to both the reader and Pauline (one of the mian foils) a much (much) too simple answer. But as the book plays out it appears that the spiritual dynamic of laying our burdens down is both easier and more accessable to us then we allow the temporal world to convice us. Williams takes a interesting left turn when Pauline is presented with an opportunity to remove the burden of fear from her long since deceased martyered relative. This 'ghost" story aspect of the book is the halmark of Williams' belief in the seamless intersection of the physical and spiritual and temporal worlds. Some of it I need more time to ruminate on but the book (as are his other novels) is a compelling and engaging read.
The idea of carrying one another's burdens in light of previous posts is vaild and pressing. The thought that presses forward with most urgence is the notion of our unwillingness to let ourseleves be available to walk along side of others. We will "disqualify" ourselves for a variety of reasons: I'm still figuring things our for myself; or I've got enough problems of my own; or what could I possibly offer to them; or I just don't like them; or I've had to figure it out on my own so should they. This is not an exhuastive list but it is representative of some of our excuses. But let's bring this out into the light a bit more. Which of us hasn't been burnt or been let down or been so consumed with our own lives thatr we've forgotten about the most immediate circumstances around us. But life happens in the midst of life and no one gets the chance to push aside all ideal distractions to serve others...in fact when we do push aside things it is more often to serve ourselves...as we are often the first thing that sldies into "free space."
So let's look at this a another way. If someone is to carry a burden for us and that burden is too heavy then do we have any options do we have any outs...of course. Jesus Himself said, "Come to me if your burden is too heavy and I will give you rest." But note not only rest but He gives us a whole different burden to carry...a light and easy one (note also the goal is never "no burden"...with that in mind consider the goal of your pursuits...if it is to reach the great AHHHHH of being unburdened in this life then perhaps the goals are wrong...just food for thought for me and you if your eaves dropping). So what do we have to lose in both giving our burdens to God and to each other...only the burden we see as too heavy. Is the burden work or sexuality or anxiety or jealousy or rage or greed or bitterness or laziness or pride or food or passivity...none of these are burdens that God will give back to you or will not receive from you. Will He replace it will the "burden" (cleverly called fruit) of self-control or kindenss or stillness? I'm not sure. But I know that I would rather have what he gives then what I take for myself. Having and being a brother/sister in Christ to walk with in all of this allows for honest evaluation of which burdens are light and which ones are heavy...which is the tiredness of training to run arace and which is the tiredness of unneeded trash/rubbish. But honesty...well that takes us to another place...and I'll join you there next time we meet...more later!