September 02-D, 2022

Boone Fork 07/13/2012 Oil Paint Rendered — Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina
Joseph Campbell asked,
"How can one person
get God into the heart
of another person?"

How can any person get God
into their own heart?

Praying? Reading the Bible?
Reciting a catechism?
Chanting The Hail Mary
and The Our Father back to back?

Campbell's question is like asking,
"How can one person enlighten another person?"
"Illumine another person?"
"Bring realization to life?"

How can we make ourselves,
or anyone,
fall in love?

Decide before we go to bed
what we will dream tonight?

Experiences with the Numen,
with numinous reality,
come of their own accord
out of nowhere,
when the time is right.

We can encourage the experience
by immersing ourselves
in encounters with art, music and nature,
but that guarantees nothing,
merely provides the experience of the ineffable
a fertile environment in which to work.

The Mystery breaks in upon us
in its own time,
in its own way,
and cannot be hurried,
or compelled, into being.

Which is not to say that 
it cannot be conjured up 
with drumming or loud organ music
and hours of bad preaching.
But a person so "converted"
will have nothing original to say
about the experience,
and will repeat what has been
drilled into them,
word for word,
phrase for phrase,
with lots of "hallelujah's"
and "praise the lord's" 
thrown in for good measure.

The validity of a religious experience
is in the life of the one so moved.
"Wisdom is known by her children,"
and, sometimes, by her grandchildren.


Published by jimwdollar

I'm retired, and still finding my way--but now, I don't have to pretend that I know what I'm doing. I retired after 40.5 years as a minister in the Presbyterian Church USA, serving churches in Louisiana, Mississippi and North Carolina. I graduated from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, in Austin, Texas, and Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana. My wife, Judy, and I have three daughters and five granddaughters within about twenty minutes from where we live--and are enjoying our retirement as much as we have ever enjoyed anything.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: