Sunday, August 1, 2010

Be still, and know that I am God.

Well, Jess and I are preparing to leave the United States for a completely different country, culture and language. English is sometimes spoken, but truly as a second or third language. So, in an attempt to make this cross-cultural splash more of an elegant dive than a belly-flop, I have entangled myself in the World Wide Web, watched Czech films, and began with some language training.  I don't expect to fit right in, but if nothing else I may be able to get myself around town and avoid being a walking faux-pas. But, this past week I abandoned my computer and brought only a few books with me as I left for a week at camp.

There is certainly no better medicine for the cyclical tunnel vision I often find myself plagued with than to just escape it all.  Forgetting why I do what I do happens as the grass grows, just while we rotate in space - assuredly and without notice.  But then His promise proves true and you're dislocated from life's monotony and you've been given an opportunity to relax and just breathe.  I've finally curtailed this side effect of just going, escaping that sort of muscle memory that seeps into every crevice of your soul.  Well, this most recent dose of such mental and spiritual aid came to me this past week in the same place where it all started.  Camp Kuratli, a place I have no qualm about calling holy ground.  Sure when we pulled into camp Monday morning I felt shortened breath, a rush of anxiety and an unexplainable estrangement.  This wasn't 2007, I was not Cutty Ninja and I unfortunately didn't have Papa Grizz by my side.  Kuratli was beautiful, both scenic and safe.  I acclimated myself well with the staff and children, and away went the nerves.

One morning Jess and I misjudged the schedule and woke up with an hour to kill.  I took advantage, grabbed my book and headed for the creek.  I'm reading, "Disturbing the Peace" a novel length interview/autobiography by Vaclav Havel, the first president of a free Czechoslovakia/Czech Rep.  As I sat by Deep Creek, Something President Havel said hit me hard!

When asked how he would, in a more meaningful way organize the world, eventually said, “I feel that somewhere here there is a basic tension out of which the present global crisis has grown. At the same time, I’m persuaded that this conflict – and the increasingly hypertrophic impersonal power itself – is directly related to the spiritual condition of modern civilization. This condition is characterized by loss: the loss of metaphysical certainties of an experience of the transcendental, of any super personal moral authority, and of any kind of higher horizon. It is strange but ultimately quite logical: as soon as man began considering himself the source of the highest meaning in the world began to lose it’s human dimension, and man began to lose control of it.

We are going through a great departure from God which has no parallel in history. As far as I know, we are living in the middle of the first atheistic civilization. This departure has its own complex intellectual and cultural causes: it is related to the development of science, technology, and human knowledge, and to the whole modern upsurge of interest in the human intellect and the human spirit. I feel that this arrogant anthropocentrism of modern man, who is convinced he can know everything and bring everything under his control, is somewhere in the background of the present crisis. It seems to me that if the world is to change for the better it must start with a change in human consciousness, in the very humanness of modern man.”

I can’t help but think that while the question was asked about the world, it came from a man who has spent his whole life in the former Czechoslovakia, the majority under communist rule. Yes these are mankind’s symptoms, but this description is especially true of ex-communist Eastern European countries. Suddenly, like a whisper from Jesus, I felt these words, “psst- this is why you are going where you are going”