07 July 2010
I have friends who are tech geeks. They think about gizmos all the time, and it's all they want to talk about. If you are not a tech geek, they sigh and roll their eyes and exchange knowing looks when you try to join the conversation. My 6 year-old is a Star Wars Lego geek. It may not be all he thinks about, but it's all he wants to talk about, and he, too, grows impatient when you cannot tell the difference between General Grievous and Count Dooku.
I fear I have become a Spirit geek. It's not all I think about, because I do think about sex and coffee. But beyond those, all I seem to think about is the mystery of Spirit, and particularly why, throughout human history, we have made Spirit so complicated, corrupt and cynical.
Everyone likes to criticize other people, and religious people top the list of gleeful finger pointers. I've studied many religions and it seems clear to me that at the core, all religions offer us the choice of how big or how small of a box we want to live in. All religions frame the box as immense, eternal, incomprehensible. And then all religions begin shrinking the box with stories, images and rules arising from two places: the culture and the landscape from which they arise. This is how the Creator Of The Universe somehow becomes so small as to worry that homosexuals will destroy even the Galaxies and spiritual writings from the people over the hill are completely wrong and dangerous. It's also why the God of the western world is founded on desert imagery, because that god arose from the desert of the ancient Near East.
So we call out to God, who brings us into immensity, and then we shrink god to fit our comfort zone and understanding. On and on it goes and human history is made on this shrinkage. But history is also made on the valiant attempt to resist that shrinking of Mystery - the compressing and compacting of God - and on and on this resistance goes too. In each time, in each culture, in each landscape we are offered the holy choice of how much shrinking of God we will allow and how much expanding of God we dare to embrace.
Drumming, for some incomprehensible reason, brings expansion, which is one ancient definition of "blessing." And that is why we drum.