Sunday, September 30, 2012

A More Earthy Spirituality

Recently, I went with a friend to the TED conference held at the Kauffman Center in Kansas City. TED is a well known non profit organization that is dedicated to bringing remarkable speakers to audiences online, Public Radio and conferences in various cities. The speakers are individuals who have ideas that promise a better future for humanity.

The theme of the conference was, "The Miracle of Your Mind Isn't That You Can See the World As It Is; It Is That You can See the World As It Is Not." I was hooked right away because I love realized eschatology.  There was a passion for a better future in the 2000 attendees. The place was filled with people in their 20s, 30s and 40s. They were young, bright and educated people looking for ideas to make life better for themselves and the world.

The Kauffman Center is a bright and modern design performance center that provided the proper atmosphere of openness to world. It has a glass ceiling and huge slopping glass windows that give a panoramic view of the city. On the stage was an immense screen for visual presentations and an earth harp with long cable type strings from the stage to the ceiling of the theater. The presenter came stood in a speaker's circle and welcomed us to share in the spirit of TED.

Then a beautiful female musician dressed in a flowing white gown, accompanied by other string instrumentalists, a percussionist and singer, began to play the earth harp. As the New Age sounds leaped from the from the harp, it seemed as if a spiritual energy of the Goddess Gaia was ascending from the earth into the consciousness of the gathering.

The speakers were exceptional masters of communicating in the media age. The talks were about the power of art, Internet, free education, self awareness, human commitment, the feminine mind, critical thinking, mysticism and the power of higher consciousness to improve the human situation. It was as if there was an atmosphere of  an evolutionary-monist energy of love. It was a very Teilhard de Chardin type of mysticism.

It was an earthy type of highly passionate spirituality. I mean it was a sincere love for humanity and a better universe. It was a passionate belief in the power of consciousness and the evolutionary energy of love.

People are no longer searching for abstract dogma, highly disciplined ritualistic practices or mega narratives. They are begging for intense experiences of love. However, it is an earthy and extremely personal love. Plato's concept of Eros is a virtue not a sexual passion. It is an erotic longing for the good, the true, and the beautiful. Richard Solomon writes, "Erotic love improves and intensifies, it does not distort our perceptions. Spirituality involves just such subjectivity and selective vision. In spirituality, one chooses to see the world as beautiful or sublime instead of as an industrial resource or a scientific challenge or merely a contingent set of facts."

In Western Christian theology, bracketed by neo Platonic metaphysics, we have taken the virtue of love and placed it in a context of a dualistic theology. It has described love in terms of a hierarchy of love ranging from Eros (the lower sensuous love) to Agape love ( the higher spiritual love of God).

In a Post metaphysical age, we need a spirituality of non dualistic Agape-Eros i.e. evolutionary love. We need a heavenly and earthly love that cries out from the heart of people and the earth we walk on. We are a mind-body who spend our existence feeding a dynamic and emerging soul.

In our spirituality, we need the mystical experience of Agape and Eros. We need to read and reflect on C.S. Lewis Four Types of Love, but we must also reflect on the works of Nikos Kazantzakis, namely Zorba the Greek.

As a blog dedicated to the Episcopal Journey of hope, I suggest that a successful Episcopal Journey into the future is not possible unless it is grounded on a heavenly and earthly passionate spirituality.So, I will finish with this quote from Nikos Kazantzakis, "By believing passionately in something that still does not exist, we create it. The non existent is whatever we have not sufficiently desired." 



  1. Once again, Bill, a fine piece focusing our attention on the need for a grounded and practical spiritual faith and one that is synchronous with where we are now. Thank you. Reflecting back to the Four Loves by C.S. Lewis, I went over my ETS senior thesis about love and confirmed for myself that my concern at the time was the need to move from categorical analysis of love to an incarcerational infusing of agape in all love. And then I remembered that Teilhard de Chardin was journaling about this in his suffering on the battle fields of WWI as a young man as he witnessed hideous moments of violence and death. Re. hope, the fullness of love is the energy of it; faith is the vehicle that is changeable in time/space while hope is the trajectory or track toward greater love. For me, Episcopal Journey of Hope means at its core taking the word episcopal seriously and finding where it is an authentic vehicle for hope; i.e. the very office itself embodying actions that speak for themselves. The present largely inauthentic practice of episcopacy is the problem; therefore, to speak of hopefulness without dealing with the office is to have no faith structure if we really authenticate and continue in our tradition. Back to Bill, hey, folks, get his really fine new little book:Existentialism and Christian Zen. I "love it" already and giving it to friends.

  2. Bill, this is an excellent article. This kind of spirituality is exciting, existential and transformative. I think about all your comments about how our verbal and visual culture has limited a deep, visceral, penetrating sense of The Divine One.

  3. I am so glad to be part of a group which is able to write in this manor and make it real and useful to those of us who write in another manner.

    I look forward to acting and writing on that "earthly passionate spirituality".

    I have seen the "under belly" of the church and I shall reveal it.

    We Are One!!!