Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Spiritual Dynamics: The Metaphysical Realities Explained

by Larry Burnett

Author's Foreword:

Section 1 of 10

              Please Read This First

You don’t have to do so, of course.  But, if you don’t – you go directly to jail.  And, you do not collect $200 for passing “Go.”

Metaphysical – now there’s a word for you.  In the Greek language where "Meta" originated, one of its primary meanings was simply "beyond."  Thus, that is how the term "Metaphysical" is used in this writing.  It is simply used to describe the non-physical realities, which root their existence outside this physical dimension.  You know, like, for example, God.

So, there is this physical dimension of life, which our physical senses and our intellect pretty well equip us to explore and grasp.  And then, there is that more ethereal metaphysical dimension of life which lies beyond the physical dimension, and is not nearly so easy.  Nevertheless – here we go!


So, it would seem that in the mind of modern mankind, the question has become, does God really matter in a world like this? With science, technology, and materialism now so very ascendant, should we even care anymore about the divine purpose or the abstract concepts of the metaphysical (or spiritual) realm? At the present, enormous level of social, political, and economic stress, do those things still hold any practical relevance?

            But, here’s the deal.  In truth, God and His purposes are all that ever do remain relevant at any point in time. This is true because of one invariable reality. It is this. The conditions of the present are always short-lived. 

    Always, for better or worse, time sweeps the human condition irresistibly forward, on to some new “present condition.” And, as it does so, only two things ever remain unmoved and impervious to this force of passing moments.  And, those two things are God and His agenda. All else is eventually swept away. 

So, in fact, the divine issues are the only issues which ever really do continue to matter. Thus, the smart move is to focus on what will endure to confront us in our tomorrows.  And, inversely, it’s really kind of a dumb move to be consumed by the things which time will soon blow away like so many dry leaves. 

But, to be brutally frank, it seems most don’t really play it very smart in this life.  Instead, they allow their priorities to be mostly shaped by only their most immediate and basic (and sometimes, their most base) needs.  It is a shortsighted approach.  But, it would seem that most of us seem to think that small and up-close is way more important than big and far off. 

Seemingly, we humans, as a whole, have a real problem grasping the idea that, in fact, life’s “big” just simply won’t always be “far off.”  Indeed, it is ever moving our way.  And, life’s largest import will, sooner than we think, have a huge and lasting impact on our existence – for better or for worse.

            And so, I write, at God’s behest, “me thinks,” for any who do still retain their spiritual wits in this ever more tin-hearted world. I write for any who still hear the divine call upon their heart above the screeching friction of shifting and crumbling social structures. And, I write for those who, even at this late hour in human history, are willing to take in life’s bigger view. 

And, I write for those who are still tenaciously seeking the answers to those supremely important life-questions which far too many have simply stopped asking in these harried days.  And finally, I write for those who are still enamored with that mysterious personal pilgrimage which restores our soul, our intimate friendship with our Creator, the goodness of our personal here-and-now, and the quality of our forever. 

            At the time of this writing, I have, myself, enjoyed that renewing journey for half a century.  And, across the course of that long path, I have discovered that it all simply comes to one thing. Indeed, it is about a durable and meaningful friendship – for both God and man. All theology, if it is accurate, ultimately leads us to that simple reality. 

            And, even after all the elements of my own journey – the formal study of high-sounding theologies, the real life struggles, the failures, the successes, the praying, the soul searching, the agonizing, the times of great joy, the mistakes, the apologizing, the surprises, the drama, the relationships (good and bad), the revelations, the impacts of aging, the technological impacts, and the just-in-the-nick-of-time rescues – I can find no better way to sum it all up than this. The spectacular work of Christ, in its ultimate purpose, is really only about creating, for each soul, a durable, intimate, and wonderfully fulfilling “League of Two” with our loving Creator. 

            It seems so obvious now, looking at it from this end. My redemption – as is everyone’s – was always only about awakening within me, through Christ, this trans-formative daily friendship. And the living Christ has been, and is, even now, constantly enlarging and deepening this amiable divine companionship. 

            He is ever expanding this comfortable oneness of heart with my Creator. And this Christ-brokered heart-agreement has, indeed, over the years, become the strong matrix of our consistent and enduring friendship.

            So, my uncomplicated purpose for this writing is to provide a thorough, A-Z exposure of the beautiful workings of this life-transforming God encounter. My hope is to simply achieve a real clarity in the mind of the reader concerning the nature this renewing odyssey of the heart.

            Obviously though, any religious writings are fertile ground for the unintended cultivation of contention. And, I’m sure that these will be no different. When the old timers and religious insiders, for example, don’t recognize their seemingly “canonized” words and phrases, the language by which they learned, they are not going to be happy about that. And so, almost certainly, many of them will simply reject these writings out of hand, assuming them to be some new and illegitimate thing. 

            Neither will others be pleased, who have chosen as their security blanket, a cobbled together, pick-and-choose, patchwork sort of theology.  And that often remains true even if greater clarity and coherence might be in the offering. So, in fact, their insecurity will almost certainly cause them to choose the seeming safety of their disjointed religious cliché’s over a broader and more coherent explanation. 

            And, for a thousand other reasons, many others will reject these ideas as absurd and far inferior to their own more familiar religious ideas. Nevertheless, for all of those self-justifying protests, the truth which Sir William exposed so many years ago remains true. Merely casting the “rose” into the fresh light of a more vibrant language has absolutely no impact on its immutable qualities. 

            And, so it is with this attempt to display, in the brighter light of contemporary language and frames of reference, the import and mechanics of the metaphysical dimension of our existence – and more specifically, the work of Christ within that larger existential picture. 

The idea, here, is not to reinvent or pervert the workings of God’s redemptive agenda.  Rather, it is simply to freshly frame it - in order to better communicate its opportunity to these contemporary times.

            Obviously then, it falls to the reader to be willing to lower, at least somewhat, the defenses you may have established to protect your religious status quo – or the lack thereof.  Most all of us harbor those security measures on some level, either to keep God at arm’s length, or to keep our existing perspective on God safe from corruption.  But, by their very nature, these defenses get in the way of new levels of relational discovery.

            Perhaps it would help to simply remember that, in fact, you are always in charge of the “buy-in.” You, alone, decide what you will believe and what you will not. 

            So, there is really no need to, at least at first, fend off every new, and thus, less familiar, exposure which may, after all, actually hold some real value. So, it’s my simple hope that every reader will give themselves a real chance to find out if, indeed, that is the case with this writing. A “fresh eyes” approach always requires a willingness to venture beyond the zone of the already familiar.

            So, all of that being said, if you choose not to be driven away by these and other various types of insecurity, you are about to read something I think you will find extraordinary - not so much for its literary beauty, as for the real worth of its content. And, indeed, I hope you will consider giving yourself permission to just relax and explore the issues of this writing with some curiosity.

And, if you do decide to come along, we will do this by viewing the issue of each section through four distinct lenses.  We will explore them through the lens of personality, the lens of mechanics, the lens of immutable realities, and the lens of plot


Wait! don’t panic.  All of that sounds much more complicated than it is.  You’ve actually already been looking through all of those lenses for years.  They are the same perspectives we employ when, for example, we view a stage play or watch a drama on TV. 

We look at the actors in their various roles (personality).   We explore the logic of what they say and do (the mechanics).  And, simultaneously, we factor in the time and setting within which the play is set and to which the actors must therefore adhere (the immutable realities).  And finally, we take in the play by observing the continuum of the story line as it unfolds (the plot).  


And, when you think about it, we also view life in these same ways.  Life is just a bit more grandiose and truly consequential than a stage play – both for better and for worse.  Nevertheless, real life is also typically understood, in both its physical and metaphysical dimensions, by observing it from these four very basic directions. 


And, one additional thought along these lines.  It becomes exponentially more difficult to understand all of these perspectives and how they work together in a play if you come in at the middle of the performance.  So, for that same reason, I would advise the reader not to do that with this writing.


Certainly, you can hop around in a pick-and-choose fashion, reading the different sections in some random order.  But, a front-to-back approach is much better.  This is so because each section of Spiritual Dynamics builds on what has already been said in preceding sections.  So, a pick-and-choose approach will unavoidably leave you vastly short on context. 


And finally, very obviously, the world is in a huge hurry these days.  We seem to want to get to everywhere, so we can’t stay long anywhere.  Hence, surfing has gone from being a California pastime, to a world-wide way of life.   


But, in fact, some things still do deserve, and necessarily require, a reasonable amount of time and mental focus.  And, woe is me, since I must here remind the reader that the subject matter of this writing, the metaphysical reality, is one of those things. 


So please, I know it is asking a lot, but please, slow down, breath, and focus for a bit.  Truly, the stuff which follows has a far reaching import of the highest magnitude.  So, Luke Skywalker, maybe warp speed might still be OK.  But, hyper-drive just simply won’t do here. 


Oh, and by the way, that “going directly to jail” thing that I mentioned in the subtitle of this section – just kidding.  But, I wasn’t kidding about the “no $200 for passing Go.”  That part was true.  Nevertheless, I do sincerely hope that what follows will be a huge blessing to your life in very real terms.  – LB

                          Continue to Section 2