Thesis 17: You Are An Artist
This post is part of a series of meditations on each of Luther's "95 Theses." You can view all posts in the series here.
17. With souls in purgatory it seems necessary that horror should grow less and love increase.
The literal goings-on of this thesis, stealing imagery from Dante: As folks circle around Mount Purgatory and gain proximity to the top, they will be closer to Paradiso and further from the Inferno. Increased love and decreased horror, necessarily. However, it's important to note the verb here, "seems." It's not necessary. It seems necessary.
As souls grow closer to God, does love really increase and horror decrease? Does inching closer to the divine actually reflect a growth in love? Or do we remain full of horror, stifled by the overwhelming implications of living into our true being?
If the church is to forge into the future, will it acknowledge its horror and forge past it towards love and newness, or will we save room in our beings for lamenting our death?
I've been part of a blogging community for about a year now, and we are close to releasing a new version of ourselves. A really smart acquaintance of many of us strongly recommended that we stop talking about what's dead and broken in the old system, and start celebrating and spotlighting and describing the wonderfully innovative newnesses that so many of us are trying. We have been so concerned with lamenting a broken system that we are left with no energy for pushing ahead, with no eye towards resurrection.
This stance has allowed us to remain in stasis, waiting for approval from authorities with whom we are not in community. So, let's be clear: Authority will not be given to us to create a new paradigm. We must claim our authority to create from our neighbors and from God. If we are a few paces around the curve from the crowd who marches in step with each other, it is not our duty to pull them against their will around the curve with us. Perhaps, though, we can provide some periscopes, some helpful tools, to see around the bend in order to glimpse this new reality.
As we march up and around Mount Purgatory, are we paying attention to one another and to the top? Or are we focused on the shoes we wore out a half mile ago?