Theosis

The day started out as it has the past two days, blue skies and sunshine, the sun focusing on Mt. Edgecumbe first and then spreading its warmth over the rest of Sitka Sound. Now though, a couple of hours later, a light cloud cover has moved in, diffusing the scene. The only other difference I noticed this morning is the buzz of seaplanes taking off up-harbor, so many of them. Is there something about the middle of the week?

Last evening after I had returned from Mean Queen restaurant where I had a pizza and beer with my grandson, Marsh, and some of his older friends who are neighbors in Baja, I re-read my recent posts leading up to the present and realized that the person who has come to mean so much to me over the last months is hardly mentioned at all. The absence of journal entries from July 26 through September 8  is really a testament to her. It’s not that Sherry (or “Charlie”, my favorite nickname for her) prevented me from writing during this period because I had the time. It’s just that I was preoccupied with writing poetry, most of it admittedly about her (See the poetry section of my website), but also about my changing attitude to poetry. The subject matter is changing for me, as I’ve mentioned elsewhere, from outside to inside. In my confusion, journaling seems to be the best way to go and so journal writing it is. I’ve also decided to include my journal entries in my new book “Indigo Moon” as a way to share with my readers my experiences as a 91 year-old widower.

Before leaving (momentarily) the subject of poetry, I wanted to mention that one of the poems I wrote when I was on Sitka last May entitled “Stairs” is going to be framed and hung on the wall next to the actual stairs the poem refers to. The “stairs” in question are the one leading from the lobby of the Hames Center on the Sheldon Jackson campus to the second floor where I always work-out on the exercise machines. What makes the stairs unusual is the quote that appears on the stairs’ kick plates. There’s no elevator to success. You gotta take the stairs! You can read the poem for yourself under the Alaska Travel Poems 2018 at my website.

Theosis. Have you read that word before? If I had, I’ve forgotten it but I’m remembering it now because it has become very important to me in my new understanding of where I stand on the theological scale. Since my early days as a ministerial intern at the First Community Church in Columbus, Ohio, I’ve had an interest in Christian mysticism but I never pursued it during or after my time at Yale Divinity School, completely absorbed as I was in the theology springing from the traditions of the Western part of Christianity. Now, for several reasons, my interest in the contribution of the Eastern Church has returned full force. Theosis is the trigger word which was recently brought to my attention by Richard Rohr at the Center for Action and Contemplation. Theosis has to do with the capacity we have as part of God’s creation to experience transformative union with God. As one of the eastern fathers has pointed out, this does not mean we become God but it does mean we participate in God’s nature. Another one is quoted as saying that the Son of God became man that we might become God….(becoming by grace what God is by nature). Variations on this theme abound apparently and now have my full attention as I explore simultaneously the possible transformative union between Jesus and Mary Magdalene.

 

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