Monday, April 18, 2016

Of Co-Creation

In my book The Stations,* an artist is commissioned to create the Fourteen Stations of the Cross.  Each station carries a message for the contemporary world.  The 14th Station is ‘Jesus Laid in the Tomb’; here the artist expresses the theme of co-creation.  From the book: “Here is the meeting place between time and eternity.  God has delivered the message; Jesus’ work is complete.  The human race must take it from here.  Jesus lived love and unity and demonstrated the desirable side of human potential—what we are capable of—entrusting humanity to carry out the world’s further development.  . . . when we do we become co-creators.”
*The Stations by B. Sabonis-Chafee: available at Amazon

on the same theme:


From parent comes child
Who is destined himself to become parent.
From God comes man
Himself to become as God—
One to other
United in understanding
Through shared creation.
Each still is
But they share a being
Impossible without the evolutionary development.

But that is the completion—
The becoming is painful.

To grow under protective care:
            To have one to give answers,
            To have one to run to for comfort,
            To have one to define limits’
            To have one to forgive mistakes,
            To have one to answer needs
            To have one to see in us value . . . . . .
                                    Childhood and Innocence.

Then to be alone:
            To search out answers,
            To endure without comfort,
            To draw our own limits,
            To be responsible for mistakes,
            To find the means to answer needs,
            To create our own value by our actions . . . .
                                    Maturity and Responsibility.

The aloneness feels like abandonment;
But necessary for becoming.

It is weakness, cowardice, and death
To run back to the protectiveness outgrown.
It is strength, courage and life
To face the challenge alone.
The challenges to be met?
One cannot foretell.
For some they are few;
For others, many.
But the greater the challenges met and overcome,
The greater the one overcoming.

Refuse the challenge
       Deny the worth of the struggle.
              Give no example to those who follow,
                     Destruction . . . . . . .
                           And worse yet,
                                  Responsibility for that destruction!

Refusal, denial, and the killing of hope
Will not eliminate the responsibility inherent in maturation.
There is no choice but to go forward and build,
To find within the self
The ability to become as the One who gave being.

God is not dead
His infinite wisdom sees the necessity
Of Man’s accepting the responsibility
Of his own destiny.

The pain?
            The suffering?
                        The aloneness?
                                    To be endured!

Instead of receiving,
It is now ours to give---
The child must now become the father.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Trinity Thoughts

Throughout this Easter season I have thought much about the Trinity.  I find it does not present to me the great incomprehensible mystery theologians speak of – Why?
This is how my mind addresses it.

I am Barbara, one singular limited human being.  During my lifetime others have known me as different persons.  I can and have manifested myself in these ways:  I am parent—“Mom”; teacher—“Ms. S-C”; and writer—“B. Sabonis-Chafee”.  Because I am limited by my material reality and exist in time and space, those manifestations happen sequentially.  Although most people can and do experience me mainly as one or the other (and can even be unaware that I’m manifested differently to others at other times) I am always the same Barbara.

For God, there is not a limit.  The Eternal God exists beyond the limits of time and space.  God’s Being has been manifested to humanity in three ways: as Creator, Savior, and Spirit.  Christianity has chosen to identify those manifestations as: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Theologians have also chosen to label God’s different ways-of-being as ‘3 Persons’. The choice of terminology has effected our perception of and our ultimate understanding of God.

Consider the word ‘person’.   Unconsciously we bring our common understanding to it, which refers to a separate individual or ‘unit’ of being.   We know of a person as one who comes into life by way of two individuals joining in sexual union to produce a baby—or new unit of being—which is first dependent upon parents but develops (over time) into the new singular unit, independent of the source of their existence.

The vastness of God is beyond our ability to comprehend but we use what we do know to try to reach a degree of understanding.  During the two thousand years of development, the Jewish people became monotheists—believers in One God—and awaiting a Messiah.  The life and message of Jesus brought people to the belief that he was the promised Messiah, the Christ.  He preached love and peace, was crucified, died and arose—conquering death.  The Messiah, thus God’s presence had been manifested to the world.  Some of the Jews, then non-Jews became Christians, believers with the conviction that Jesus=God.  Then, experiencing another manifestation of God’s presence with Pentecost, accepted that Holy Spirit =God.  It took centuries to establish the tenets of Christianity.  One great problem (still considered the greatest Mystery) was how to reconcile monotheism with a Triune God of three different persons.  The world’s experience of God had been in three different ways as: creator, savior and spirit; these encounters were different experiences so, in thought, they were separated and given the labels of ‘Father’, ‘Son’ and ‘Holy Spirit’, calling them different ‘persons’ of God, creating the confusion of One God, but three ‘persons’.

God is beyond our knowing and those awarenesses that do come to our understanding are clouded by explanations we have invented.  When reason advances our understanding (consciousness?) it requires that we change our perceptions and relinquish the long-favored errors present in the explanation.  Faced with a change in perception it is imperative not to deny the essential experience or main point but realize the error was in the way it was explained. 

Regarding the Trinity, I suggest relinquishing the use of ‘persons’ to describe the differing manifestations—the ‘Person’ of God is God (I Am) One God.  God was manifested in an earthly sojourn as the human person, Jesus.  The Christian belief is that God did enter human form for a specific duration to share the experience of being human and demonstrate how we as humans can share in ‘godness’.  We can’t fully understand it, but history and scripture affirm that it happened.  God did not ‘leave’ eternity to become Jesus (making eternity absent of God).  Eternity holds all expressions of reality within itself, so God continues eternally while entering time’s temporality. 

How many ways can God manifest the God-self?  We can’t know that, so lets confine the issue to the ways in which humanity has recognized them.  God’s Being is manifested to our human world: 1) as Creator (we see and experience life and the world in which we exist); 2) as the Savior in the person Jesus, also identified as The Christ (saving us from limited being); and 3) as the Holy Spirit, (The Divine Milieu) present throughout all of creation, guiding our evolution.

My prayer:    God of the Universe, you are one God in three manifestations;
                          --as Creator you give us life and the world;
--as Savior you clothed yourself in human flesh and entered time to show us how we are to live
--as Holy Spirit you are everpresent, enveloping us in your love and giving guidance to those who seek your council.
            Thank you—for all that is
            Amen—Thy will, not mine be done
            Trust—I believe, Lord, help my unbelief