We took my father in law (who is visiting from Canada) to a "nearby" state park late yesterday afternoon. It was an impromptu thing...Keith, who does not like to fritter away a vacation sitting around at home, sprung it on me at the last minute. I am not good at doing "last minute" stuff...but I, somewhat reluctantly, agreed to go along. It turned out to be a longer trip than expected, but it was a scenic drive and the view from the overlook at this park is spectacular. I took along a Bible with the apocrypha to read in the van...and also my mini Dell.
I began reading Sirach...in fits and starts...after daniel posted a few verses from it on EU. There is a lot of stuff in that book. Pity it was not included in the Protestant version of the the Holy Scriptures. It seems to mirror Proverbs...and Psalms....and confirms so many other verses in the Bible. I have found a lot to underline and reflect upon within its chapters. I hope to write about some of the stuff contained therein...but let's face it, I may run out of years before I run out of ideas to muse about and publicly ponder here on this blog :)
But anyway...Sirach is not the subject of this post. On the way home, after dark...too dark to read a book, I fired up the mini to look through some old files (blog ideas, more blog ideas, draft posts, really draft posts, more draft posts, quotes for blog...you get the idea) I came upon some quotes I had saved from The Shack. Now if there ever was a book that "put a face with a name"...the Shack showed us a face of God. Not the expected face (an overweight black woman) nor the only "face" by which God reveals himself... as Papa explained in the Shack
She picked up the wooden spoon again dripping with some sort of batter. Mackenzie, I am neither male nor female, even though both genders are derived from my nature. If I choose to appear to you as a man or a woman, it’s because I love you. For me to appear to you as a woman and suggest you call me Papa is simply to mix metaphors, to help you keep from falling so easily back into your religious conditioning.
But then, he paused, still focused on staying rational, “why is there such an emphasis on you being a Father? I mean, it seems to be the way you most reveal yourself.
Well, responded Papa, turning away from him and bustling around the kitchen, there are many reasons for that, and some of them go very deep. Let me say for now that we knew once the creation was broken, true fathering would be much more lacking than mothering. Don’t misunderstand me, both are needed..but an emphasis on father is necessary because of the enormity of its absence.
I've expressed before, here on this blog, that God has revealed himself to me as Father. That is the "face" I "see" when I think of God. "Seeing" God causes a mental short circuit in my brain because truly, he is not a face....but, I see/feel him as Father. To me, he is Father...but I acknowledge that to many he reveals himself as Mother...similar to how he appeared to Mack...a heavy set black woman...and he reveals himself in many, many other ways...meeting us at our point of need...out of his great love for us.
But I am still digressing somewhat because the original point of this post was to talk about this freedom Osho mentioned. Since God is dead (or to more accurately express his view....since God was always a figment of man's imagination) we are free. Yippee! But free for what? In The Shack, Mack and Papa (in the form of an overweight black woman) discuss this issue of freedom....
“You knew I would come, didn’t you?” Mack finally spoke quietly.
“Of course I did” she was busy again, her back to him.
“Then was I free not to come? Did I not have a choice in the matter?”
Papa turned back to face him, now with flour and dough in her hands. “Good question..how deep would you like to go?” She didn’t wait for a response, knowing that Mack didn’t have one. Instead she asked, “Do you believe you are free to leave?”
“I suppose I am. Am I?”
“Of course you are! I'm not interested in prisoners. You’re free to walk out that door right now and go home to your empty house. Or, you could go down the Grind and hang out with Willie. Just because I know you’re too curious to go, does that reduce your freedom to leave?”
She paused only briefly and then turned back to her task, talking to him over her shoulder. “Or, if you want to go just a wee bit deeper, we could talk about the nature of freedom itself. Does freedom mean that you are allowed to do whatever you want to do? Or we could talk about all the limiting influences in your life that actively work against your freedom. Your family genetic heritage, your specific DNA, your metabolic uniqueness, the quantum stuff that is going on at a subatomic level where only I am the always-present observer. Or the intrusion of your soul’s sickness that inhibits and binds you, or the social influences around you, or the habits that have created synaptic bonds and pathways in your brain. And then there’s advertising, propaganda, and paradigms. Inside the confluence of multifaceted inhibitors, “ she sighed, “what is freedom really?”
Mack just stood there not knowing what to say.
“Only I can set you free, Mackenzie, but freedom can never be forced.”
At this point you don’t even understand that freedom is an incremental process.
Mackenzie, the Truth shall set you free and the Truth has a name; he’s over in the wood shop right now covered in sawdust. (She is referring, of course, to Jesus Christ) Everything is about him. And freedom is a process that happens inside a relationship with him. Then all that stuff you feel churnin’ around inside will start to work its way out.”
So Osho was wrong. Zen does not offer mankind salvation...nor wholeness...nor hope. There are principles contained in Zen that can enhance our Christian journey...but wholeness, our destiny, dwelling in the secret place of the most high...our Father's heart cannot be found in the simple process of meditation. "Existence, the cosmos" have a name...and they have a "face."