NO SHADOW of TURNING
MAY 15, 2014
The Glory Road Blog, A Kingdom Highway
“Every good endowment and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.”
Have you ever known anyone who talked a righteous game, but whose life was far from the mark?
Richard Rohr has been discussing our “shadow self” this week in his daily meditations. He equates our shadow self with our persona, the kind of person we see ourselves as and therefore project to the world. If there is a great gulf fixed between the kind of person we project to others and who we really are, then our real self is in “shadow.”
Those of us who grew up in Sunday School were taught how a Christian behaves, what moral values we must adhere to, and most especially, how we are to feel about God and each other. I’m not sure that kids today have the stringent religious guidelines pressing upon them, curtailing their behavior the way we older people did. When did I get to be an older person? That’s another story, but Christians today are still reminded about how godly people are to be in this world. We are, as one Baptist friend put it,
Of course, many people practice the adage,
Am I ringing any bells yet? I’ve been thinking about my own shadow self a lot this week, because until we let the
Until we know what we’re covering up, be it fear of the dark, or losing our looks, our temper, our health, our money, or getting old and decrepit, we are merely shadow boxing. Counseling helps us to look ourselves
People who live in their false personas are deceiving themselves, but many people can see the truth about us even if we can’t. Perhaps this is a product of my cynical mind, but
People who have faced themselves and lived over the shock, know that our lives are ordered by God, and
Our dear friend Harry Fox has explained why the children of Israel were afraid to enter a land which God said flowed with milk and honey. Harry believes it was the milk and honey, rather than the giants which kept them from going there. What’s scary about milk and honey? Having been slaves in the land of Egypt, deprived of life’s basic necessity for happiness, freedom, they couldn’t imagine what a land flowing with milk and honey would be like, and what price they would have to pay to live there. It sounded too good to be true. No wonder they were afraid.
Now the Israelites were a group of people who while struggling to maintain their persona without the help of the indwelling Spirit, often reverted to living out of their shadow selves. They talked a good game, saying to Moses about this fearful God who shook the mountain before them with thunder and lightning, earthquakes, fire and smoke,
That was their religious persona talking. Moses had no sooner turned his back on them to ascend the mountain, than they fell into their shadow self, compelling Aaron to make them a golden calf to worship. Aaron knew better, but his own shadow self was too strong for him to resist. So, by the time Moses came back down the mountain, the children of Israel had set free the hidden impulses they had shoved down for so long; their long repressed shadow selves came out to play. Orgies and orgasms, debauchery and drunkenness, blasphemy and idol worship had taken hold of the hapless children of Israel. Deprived of personal pleasures for hundreds of years, they let slip any pretense of their righteous persona and let‘er rip.
Fast forward the tape to the establishment of the Law. It was instituted with all the pomp and circumstance, the trappings of power and authority, and the manifestations of God’s presence that the people needed to see and feel and hear. Religion was born. Without the indwelling Spirit that serves as our guide and mentor, they had to depend upon the Priesthood to tell them what God expected of them. That was, after all, what they told Moses they wanted.
When they first arrived at Mount Sinai, and saw
We all know that didn’t work out any better than trying to live by law does for us today. Some, however, are still living their lives by the words of their leader, a man on earth. The Apostle Paul was one who was zealous regarding the Law, before he was apprehended on the Damascus Road, so it is liberating to hear what he wrote the Colossians:
Though sometimes in the midst of our struggles and trials it doesn’t feel like it, we have entered the Promised Land, led by Christ Himself, and
It is good news that we are free from the judgment of others, but it is also true that sometimes the judgment of others reflect what they see in us, our shadow self. I believe that no one deceives others unless he or she has first deceived himself. What is it that dispels the shadows in our lives? It is light, as any child can tell us.
He is the Light of the world and we who follow Him shall have the light of His life. He said of Himself,
[note: darkness is perhaps a figure for their religious system, or for the world that does not know what God is really like, or for the Night, that period before the coming of the Day].
Father, we want to walk in the Light, as You are in the Light, so that if You empower us to do so, we can be Light bearers to those who still walk in darkness. Deliver us from our shadow selves that we may be one with you, in whom there is no shadow of