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Thursday, February 28, 2013

Spirituality of Integrity

Yesterday I discussed the three Christian mysteries of Creation, Incarnation, and Resurrection and their corresponding spiritualities.

In my own reflection on the historical research, I think that Jesus of Nazareth probably exercised a creation spirituality, but was received by his companions as a unique expression of the divine (incarnation) and by reformers and the establishment as a radical transformer (resurrection). While persons I named in the previous blog may show a more dominant spiritual trait, all those with deeper spirituality do integrate all three.

I said that the three spiritualities complement each other and correct their distortions. To show this I return to my integrity ethics in which I identified three dimensions of human existence or presence: spatial, temporal, communal; being here, now, with.

Creation spirituality corresponds to the communal or "with" dimension: the tension between person and community, the individual and the whole. It is the sense of relation to and among all persons and all things. God, the holy, transcendence consists in the whole fabric or relationships that hold us, the universe, the multiverse together. It denies a universal or absolute viewpoint beyond the integration of all viewpoints. Such a viewpoint would be the abdication of community responsibility and culture.

Incarnational spirituality corresponds to the spatial or "here" dimension: the tension between inner and outer, spirit and body, interiority and externality at the same point. God, the sacred, transcendence consists in universal consciousness, the wonder of nature, the emerging pattern in chaos. It denies a separate space outside from which a deus ex machina can intervene to fix things.  Such a supernaturalism is the abdication of critical thought and science.

Resurrection spirituality corresponds to the temporal or "now" dimension: the tension between past and future, history and innovation in the same moment. God, the infinite, transcendence is the coming, becoming, intentionality to the new in the old, possibility in actuality. Radical transformation negates both the nostalgia of reaction and the fantasy of utopia out of which salvation comes. Reaction and apocalypse is the abdication of transformative action and politics

When creation spirituality fixes on a single viewpoint or idolizes a human institution, incarnation thinking says "transcend by going deeper" and resurrection thinking says "pass on to the new."

When incarnational spirituality gets stuck in a certain place, creation thinking says "consider its relations to others in the dynamic whole" and resurrection thinking says "open new possibilities and transform."

When resurrection spirituality exalts a utopian new order, resurrection thinking says "remember where you came from" and incarnational thinking says "nothing is pure and perfect."

A spirituality of integrity integrates not only the terms of each of the tensions: self and other, inner and outer, past and future.  It integrates the tensions themselves so that the real is always in the ideal and the ideal in the real.  The holy/sacred/infinite in transcendence is the dynamism of the whole of creation, life, and history revealed in our presence--being here, now, with.  In a spirituality of integrity, the religious, science, and politics are all present and accounted for.

And to refer back to and follow up on my previous reflections on humor, the best sign of an integral spirituality is a sense of humor.

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