I’ve been blogging on the class at St. Paul’s I’ve been leading. We’ve been talking about Richard Rohr’s take on the stages of spiritual formation. A friend just sent me this link to an article that is as good of an example as any regarding the consequences of stuckness:
I’ve been very clear with the class in pointing out that every stage of growth is necessary, and that judging where someone else is in the journey is a sign of one’s own spiritual immaturity. However, I have to admit that stories like this one DO illicit judgement from my mind. And this makes my mind want to then jump through all sorts of hoops to explain to you why I’m not really judging… I’m just… uhhhh… discerning?
Nonetheless, here’s what saddens me about these stories. In this instance, the unwillingness, or inability of a person to comprehend a way to integrate the biblical story with the scientific story has led to a rather large commitment of resources to simply defending the indefensible. I know that I cannot comprehend the mind of God, so I know that it’s possible that this person’s energy is furthering the Kingdom of God.
I’m thinking about Wilber’s concept of “transcend and include” that I’ve mentioned elsewhere on this blog. If a person believes that moving beyond a literal reading of the Bible is somehow dangerous, then a person will end up stuck. This is like an elementary school kid hearing that the middle school kids are smoking pot and having sex, so he decides that middle school must be an awful place, and so decides to never leave elementary school.
Of course, it’s just as unhealthy to attempt to transcend and reject. This is like getting to middle school, seeing how much more advanced it is than elementary school, and deciding that the earlier grades were a waste of time. These people may read an article like this and decide that creationists are just stupid, or feel ashamed that they ever held such views themselves. Attempts to transcend without including what came before generally just leads to a sort of prideful pseudo-transcending.
My desire for myself is to get to a place where my first reaction to these stories is one of sadness, rather than anger.
Does that sound judgmental? (probably)