Sunday, November 30, 2008

Horror in the High Rise

Christine and I were attending a Conference. Among other guests was a young couple whom I loved. The young man, single for years, met this girl of his dreams and they were married recently. Most of our activities were on the 10th floor and for an inexplicable reason that was never questioned during our stay; there was no wall or guard rail or protection at the edge of the floor, a spectacular view but a chilling risk. I worried as people ventured to the edge deliberately or unintentionally. One morning, the young wife whom I first mentioned was in our group and as we came around a corner she went to the edge to look over, looked back at us with smiling admiration for the beauty of the scene and the intimidation of the height. Everything in me silently begged her to come away. She turned to come to us, she lost her balance and stepped over the edge and fell. I knew it was final. I bent over and grasped my head in disbelief and waited and heard what I believed was the impact of her body hitting the concrete below. She made no sound as she fell. I am sure others were as distraught as I but I was running down the spiraling staircase the entire ten stories shouting “Why God?” “Why did you let this happen to her? Why? Why?” At ground level I found her husband and two of his friends already prostrate on their faces wailing in grief. I moved around the corner of the building to see her face down and lifeless.

And I awoke in a panic, glad to be awake, glad to know I was only dreaming. Each night my dreams are predictably vivid, riveting, but mercifully not persistently upsetting. These dreams have never been premonitions nor have I attached to them any other meaning than the fanciful developments of the dream state. Yet the Bible contains many accounts in which a dream became the vehicle by which divine knowledge was revealed to humanity. Even the birth of Jesus Christ to a virgin woman was revealed through dream to woman’s affianced partner, Joseph.

How many of those dreams can a reader trust or how much of the gospels about Christ can a reader with certainty embrace as factual? All of it is up for grabs if you travel with Tom Harpur down his theological road to syncretism. Harpur’s newest book is entitled WATER INTO WINE and is a sequel to his most radical publication in 2004 entitled THE PAGAN CHRIST – Recovering The Lost Light. I will write more about Harpur and his theological speculations in another entry. Harpur has himself developed a cosmic faith. He has become convinced that the Christian belief system and that of other religions have become ritualized institutions because of ultraconservative literalism. His personal solution and his recommendation for true enlightenment and self realization is to move from literalism to an inclusive religion that appreciated that the spark of the divine is planted in each person.

There is more to come about Harpur’s dream state on this blog.
Meanwhile, visit Harpur's interest site.

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