Life a Spiritual Journey (Why Augustine Would Like This Blog) ~ BitterSweetLife

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Life a Spiritual Journey (Why Augustine Would Like This Blog)

Spiritual Journey

Some time ago, when I was learning about Saint Augustine, I was pleased to discover that one of the dominant metaphors he developed was that of life as a journey—a spiritual journey. Augustine saw our being as a spiritual trek that brought Christ’s followers nearer and nearer to their patriq, their homeland. This native country, never fully reached in this life, was God the Father.

As much as I revere the penetrating depth of Augustine’s thought, this was not merely his “good idea.” Refreshingly, Augustine drew out the journey language that is so prevalent in the Bible, and emphasized it as a central theme for a people who can truthfully said to be “on the way.”

This metaphor is provocative in nature, because Augustine argued that all people, not merely those who knew Christ, were on a journey. Life is linear, he pointed out, and we move forward deliberately and with purpose. At all times, though with varying degrees of self-awareness, we are progressing steadily toward something.

Our travels take their course under the eyes of God, who is the axis, the very heart of reality. God gives meaning to existence, Augustine would say, in that what he blesses, IS—and continues to be. All being is of God. Everything else, including the temporary devastations of evil, can be said to be passing away.

Therefore, we all spend our lives on the road. We advance toward the homeland, or we resist; we stride toward the patriq or a darker country. We move toward an ending.

Some, pricked by divine discontent, will sell off their “assets” in order to make their way down the road. In the distance, they sense the shining presence of the ultimate reality into which they are journeying: the very City of God.

Life is a spiritual journey. Sometimes the truth transcends the metaphor. In this case, I try to keep the "journey" analogy in front of me as a trail sign for this life, not to mention this blog.



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9 comments:

Aditya said...

Great Work AJ! Although a friend had posted an article of what we thought of God.

Lemme know what you think! :)

Aditya said...

I forgot to mention! I do not believe in god! I don't see a reason to dump all our happiness, fortunes, achievements or distresses, failures and sadness on a make believe force just to give some desperately needed tangible reason!

I'd love to be proved wrong!

Dustin said...

While I found the post to be extremely interesting, what was more provocative was the comments it illicited.

For me, I often find the charge of "proving" God is a bit illogical and slightly misled. Christianity never claims to have empirical proof of the existence of God. If this were so, there would be no need for faith or trust. Our relationship with God would simply be based on the idea that it would be ludicrous to believe otherwise. Yet, this is not the situation in which we find ourselves. Rather, we must look around us, see all that God has made and TRUST that there is a supreme, intelligent force, if you will, behind it all. This is what makes our relationship with God so profound, and yet so simple.

Ariel said...

Hey, thanks Aditya. (Aditya is the creator of the "native blog search" that powers the uber-hip new search box at the top of my sidebar. Try a quick search to see what I mean. Beautiful.)

"I don't see a reason to dump all our happiness, fortunes, achievements or distresses, failures and sadness on a make believe force..."

I like your forthrightness, Aditya. My short answer is to say, Neither do I. I'm not a real admirer of make believe forces. I'm not even much of a Star Wars fan. If spirituality is something we invent ourselves, some kind of psychological hack for extra function, then I would be on the outside looking in.

If, on the other hand, God is an unavoidable fact of reality, then we had better adjust our lives accordingly. This is exactly what I believe is the case.

And so, to say otherwise after being convinced, would be kind of blind denial similar to what you describe... I see belief in God as uniting empirical fact with experiential trust in a miraculous coalescence that is neither hard, cold "proof" or wishful stupidity. Dustin is saying something similar.

Having said that, I'm going to take a look at your post on the topic. Hopefully we'll talk some more.

Will Robison said...

I also appreciate Aditya's candor. Sometimes I think we are simply "preaching to the choir" around here. Its nice to see that there are people open enough to read our blogs even if they don't believe. Aditya - keep your eyes open. That's all I can say. Eventually, you may discover that whether you believe in God or not, God believes in you ;)

Marcel said...

I'd also like to suggest someone address Aditya's open request "to be proven wrong." Not as another self-righteous attempt at "Told ya so" but to give the guy some reliable resources to start his quest for truth......

Ariel said...

I'd suggest that anyone interested take a look at the article Aditya links to. Give it a thoughtful read, and, if you feel compelled, make a thoughtful response.

unveiled said...

Ariel,
I've been reading your blog for a while now, but have never commented. I read Aditya's article and left a comment. I love the oppurtunity to have thoughtful discussions. I finally got my own blog, though I am not as technical or eloquent as you, it has been fun to post my thoughts.

Ariel said...

Thanks for the note, Unveiled. For all the "talk" that takes place in the blogosphere, I think it's safe to say that thoughtful discussion will always be in short supply. Good luck with your new blog! :)

 

Culture. Photos. Life's nagging questions. - BitterSweetLife