I am reading the latest news and finding information that a contemplative Pentecostal brother is being evicted from the site of his religious community. Having grown up in the Pentecostal movement this saddens me greatly. All the thumbs up for this from fellow Christians scare and sadden me even more. The Pentecostal movement in Sweden and Norway is in great need of ecumenical work and broader perspectives. This is a huge step back. And a step back sadly supported by many.
I believe this is a great mistake, but it is also understandable why this is happening. When religious practice seems strange and foreign it can be very easy to dismiss, yes, even name it the devil’s work. Someone actually commented on this brother’s practice as the work of the devil. That’s how far it goes.
But when something is a bit strange and foreign to the classic Pentecostal believer it does not mean the teaching or practice is evil. We must realize that we understand some of the things that are related to and connected to our background and upbringing, while many other things are probably far better understood by others. Sometimes we need to listen, listen and listen before we discern and distinguish, but never judge or condemn. The shadow is great in many people’s lives, and many is stuck in first-half-of-life-thinking (read Rohrs book “Falling Upward”).
This is what it is about, I think, it’s a clash of first- and second-half-of-life-thinking. It is a clash of black and white thinking and the contemplative mind and heart. I’ve tried to comment on this case on Facebook among a lot of judgmental messengers. It’s seems it is in vain, so I just had to write a blog post about this.
Now, I silently pray, God lead us into your unity of grace and love. God, lead us into the love of all brothers and sisters, the insiders and the outsiders, those we do not understand. Help us, Gracious Lord, to embrace our own shadow, and see that what we fear from and in others is what we need to embrace in ourselves. Lead us, Pentecostals and this brother in and through the darkness. Peace.
I think the contemplative path can be a lonely road. When you are realizing that dogmas you once believed in are no longer very important and when you really see that the ego is not your most true self you (or your ego?) can experience the feeling of loss. Also the experience that people around you are not on the same page and that words are not sufficient when you try to explain makes it difficult to experience true fellowship. Yes, I truly believe that the contemplative road can be lonely.
Still, I also believe, that when you have started walking the contemplative and silent path, there is no turning back. I believe that the contemplative path is a path where you seek oneness with a God that is just as much within as without. You have moved your center from head to heart and you will never want to go back to your former understanding. You have found something that have changed your way of seeing, and you know that you are on the road to truth. And eventually truth sets free. I also believe that this, at times loney road, is a road that leads to a solitude where your heart can truly rest and truly know that all there is, is love. And now you see that you and all of creation is embraced by this Love.
There will be a time after searching and seeking, after walking through the dark night of the soul, where you’ll find a place to stand. There you will know there is only one deep purpose to life, which is to grow into oneness with the Only, the Only One. In this place, where loving and longing unite, you will find peace.