Saturday, March 25, 2006

Rubbing Shoulders With Reality

A poet's exploration of the roots of coincidence and the implications for contemporary and futuristic guidance systems in a context of rationality, intuition and increasing openness to spiritual dimensions.

The cumulative impact of incidences of coincidence, at crucial crossroads, along the path of personal existence and experience, where direction has been needed, has put some people in a position where it would require more faith to disbelieve than to believe that these convergences are rooted in ultimate reality. My dear departed friend Professor Ernie Young, in a treatise entitled "The Artist As Prophet" has said:

"The cosmos now appears minutely predestined
for life and mind, in a mathematically impossible
quantity of special coincidences."

In times past, this thesis may have been beyond the boundaries of respectability in academic circles where rationalism and relativism were reluctant to allow for the possibility of periodic incursions of the supernatural in a post "God is Dead" world.
More recently, many respected intellectuals have helped their colleagues understand that rationalism cannot encompass the totality of authentic human experience and relativism has been exposed as a false prophet of vaunted freedom that has proved to be a subtle
strait-jacket of subjectivity. The parameters of objectivity have been expanding. As a poet, it has been gratifying to read the words of Ben Okri, the highly acclaimed Nigerian author and poet who says in his book' A Way of Being Free:

"The enemies of poets are those who have no
genuine religious thinking. To be truly religious
does not require an institution, it requires terror,
faith, compassion, imagination, and a belief in
more than three dimensions."

The "Fourth Dimension" may be a minefield of mysticism, fanaticism, spiritualism, Satanism, ludicrous speculation or… "things that go bump in the night." Alternatively, meticulous excavation might just put us in touch with the roots of reality or Reality itself.
Even a close encounter of sufficient credibility could furnish the basis and context for what Professor James Loder of Princeton Theological Seminary describes in his seminal and scholarly book: The Transforming Experience.

The Apostle John in the Introduction to his First Epistle says, "That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you…." In an analysis of personal experiences of this order, both past and present, there is a need for careful scrutiny and objectivity. We may never be able to pull a gold coin from the mouth of a fish to pay our taxes as the Apostle Peter did when sent fishing by the Master, but we may find equally valuable treasure in our own, or others experience.

The following Poem was birthed out of this perspective and persuasion:


In light of all the evidence
Amassed through all my days
Convince me that coincidence
Accounts for awesome ways

That God has used in guiding me
To pathways He has planned
Although at times I cannot see
His firm but loving hand

Oft times only in retrospect
Do we at all perceive
Some subtle skeins that intersect
In God's great interweave

Entangled by my finite mind
I sometimes stand bemused
Or run in circles far behind
Exhausted and confused

Yet even then God somehow takes
My faithless stubborn will
Then breaks and moulds until He makes
Some thing of beauty still

In His Divine Economy
Once His design is seen
Remoulded vessel's symmetry
Exceeds what might have been

'Twould take more faith to disbelieve
Than to embrace the fact
That God rewards those who believe
Inviting Him to act

The simple truth and consequence
To some may sound absurd
Deserves to be a word

© Duane W. Udd
16th Jan., 1998