[RivCompanions] Chapters 3 - 5 of Burrows

susanna601 at aol.com susanna601 at aol.com
Fri Feb 26 21:58:06 UTC 2016

Thanks, Martha - Of all you wrote, the remark about TJ's struck me as most helpful -  I am DEFINITELY that - It isn't the experience of immediacy that I reject, it is the labeling of it as necessarily anti - or supra - or somehow OTHER than intellectual apprehension - which, thank you very much, can be both intimate and immediate! 
And I do reject that experience as "mystical" in the sense of anti, or beyond - intellectual - the FACT of immediate apprehension of God present is mine - but NOT the labeling of it as "mystical."
I am about done with Burrows - she wears me out with her certainty that she knows for ALL OF US - :)!
love, C
-----Original Message-----
From: Martha Frances <martha.frances at gmail.com>
To: Virginia Brown <mothervirginiadb at gmail.com>; Companions of the Rivendell Community <RivCompanions at justus.anglican.org>
Sent: Thu, Feb 25, 2016 2:47 pm
Subject: [RivCompanions] Chapters 3 - 5 of Burrows

My dearCompanions on the Way,
I’m 1/2 weekbehind on reading Burrows’ book, but since only Virginia has responded to lastweek’s “assignment” anyway, I’ll let go of the self-applied pressure. My Cultivating Compassion ends tonight; then I’ll prepare a Lentenpresentation on Miriam’s Well & wells & women in general (in caseanyone has any tidbits to offer) to give on Wed, 16 March.  A 6-week bookstudy/class on Sibyl Dana Reynolds’ INK AND HONEY follows. It’s a novel aboutBeguines in 13th Century France.  The lastsession will be taught by the author.  Do any of you know the book? I’m excited about leading this study.
Now, I’vestalled on Burrows long enough.  Is it worth the energy to read thischallenging book? My complaints help me through the task.  Anyway, some inthese chapters is worth consideration.
Chapterthree’s “the only saviour” is again frustrating to me, & Burrows sets fortha proposal & then refutes it herself as she states, “Apart from Jesuswe know nothing of God,” & then continues with the Johannineexception “There are many not of this fold. . . .”  I contend we knowGod many ways, some of which Burrows would probably call “semi-christian.”Karl Rahner’s term “anonymous Christian” seems arrogant to me.  I love theCeltic ways of knowing Godde throughout the world, & in our acknowledgementof Godde’s presence in our daily activities is our way of praying through them. 
On page 18,Burrows says Jesus is the “perfect revelation of the Father in humanterms” & that “The relationship of love which he has with hisFather is to be shared with us,” which I affirm for myself, but I can’t claimit true for a faithful Jew or Muslim, etc, nor am I in a position to judgeothers’  relationship w/ Godde. She then contends death is necessary for us to become Godde’schildren--calling that the death of the ego.  I understand but prefer the language she hasalluded to in this same chapter, that of transformation & experiencedvividly in the Transfiguration.
In chapter 4,she emphasizes the cross as central to Jesus’ salvific presence amongus. I prefer to include Jesus’ short but intense life & then hisresurrection to form a trinity with the cross & the whole Holy Week/Easterexperience.  Many people were crucified, but Jesus’ crucifixion resultedfrom the uncompromising honesty, courage, & truth of the way he livedhis life, & the resurrection made all the difference.  
RegardingVirginia’s quote on page 22, I certainly affirm the importance of themystical in my own & others’ lives, yet those who experience Godde in otherways such as through the intellectual struggle of many scholars (--TJs inMyers/Briggs terms) & for whatever reason would not identify with mysticalexperience should not be excluded.  Her comments regarding humility &its relationship to love are helpful, & I contend that our ability torecognize that Godde is Godde & we’re not is true but that, at the sametime, we are each made in Godde’s image & likeness & therefore livewith Godde in our midst.  Our exhibitingGodde-likeness is directly related to our willingness to the Spirit’s responseto our openness to Godde’s working in our lives.
As Burrowsdescribed Paul’s concern over the new Christians’ continued reliance on thelaw, she stated, “I feel he was shocked to find it [the belief that they wereagents of their own righteousness] was not so with others.”(25) I’m remindedthat Martin Luther, in translating the Bible into the vernacular & urgingall Christians to read the Bible, assumed that all would interpret it alike, theway he interpreted it, so was shocked when he realized there were as manyinterpretations as there were people reading on their own.  My experience is that weaning people fromreliance on the law comes with their becoming more confident in their freedomin responsibly living in grace, something which takes time but leads to moremature faithful living when people are affirmed in their life-long conversion& growth in faith.
I, too, amstumped at the conversation she opens up about John of the Cross, but it’s comfortingthat I’m not alone in that confusion.
Despite mydistaste for the title of chapter 5, “The narrow gate,” I found more in linewith my own understandings than in previous chapters.  I agree that “God is offering to take over,”& we so often hold on too tightly for Godde to wrench our fingers from ourown folly.  Finally, the author isadequately inclusive when she says we are reconciled with Godde “through thedeath & resurrection of Jesus,” (31) Later, on page 33, she comes to the heart of Jesus’ constant gift to us,“Redemption means there is a way out. Jesus has made the way.  He is thegate through which we pass, . . . .” Once again, however, I wish he’d have saidthat Jesus is “a” way to redemption.  Herawareness that a new convert must come to recognize his/her belief in order tocommunicate that belief & therefore be an apostle, one who is sent tospread the “good news,” is essential, I believe, so that both apostle &convert may come into “perfect union with himself & his Father,” a good partof why Jesus became incarnate in the first place. (34)  And I love her assertion that “all thispresupposes generosity.” (34)  Suchgenerosity of spirit & of one’s life can make all the difference in aChristian’s sharing simply a path of duty & one of joy in our Godde.  I must admit I got a bit confused by her illustrationfrom Mister God, This is Anna, but I’lllet go of that because I finally found some ideas I feel rewarding, even forLent.
Sorry this isso long.  I simply don’t have time toedit.  If you waded through all this, youmay have a glimpse of the discipline it takes for me to read the book.
Joyful Lentfor all,

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