Friday, February 01, 2008

Gap and Flow

Two great threats to God's way are the temptations of gap and flow. Living only in the gap is a life of abstraction. Gaps are the mysteries, paradoxes, and disagreements that lure us away from the present to places that never have nor never will exist. It is the unbridgeable distance between the created and the creatorand the impossible quest to know all there is. With the gap our intellect is challenged and our emotions are enflamed, but in the end not much happens. No one feels loved, no needs are met, and nothing but knowledge grows. Yes, books and blogs are written, endless discussions transacted on-line, but no-one’s mind is changed. Only statements of position are exchanged, and arguments probed for weakness. There is no relationship.

Living only in flow embraces the present with abandon. No sensation, feeling, or experience is denied. Everything in the universe is linked together; there are no boundaries. If we aren’t careful flow will take time and even our consciousness as its victims. Without consciousness there is no real choice—just instinct. The instinct to avoid pain and seek pleasure—without regard to consequence. Others may be involved, but they aren’t people—they're the props necessary to support our wants. There is no relationship. Then we wake up one morning and years have gone by—we know they've been wasted.

When a person is lost in gap or flow the people around them suffer. The sufferers know they don’t matter and eventually move away, at least emotionally, maybe physically. They hope to protect themselves and they hunger for the touch of someone that recognizes they exist and cares...

How can the traps of gap and flow be avoided? The danger is not in the exercise, but in the excess. Intellectual pursuits and the examination of mystery enrich our lives, but must be tempered with relationship and engagement with people—they actually matter. A life without pleasure and fun would be a bitter root indeed, but if time only exists to get us to the next game / party / tryst then we aren’t livingwe are pulling down the shades of our minds and sleepwalking through the few years given to us. Yes, thinking and engaging with people is hard work, but unlike the next buzz, they have eternal value.

Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Ephesians 5:15-16