I have been on a spiritual retreat in Broken Bow Oklahoma and have not been able to post in a few days. Here is something I journaled about during this time.
“In his view, the Fall was essentially a matter of wring growing up. Sr. Irenaeus believed, as did many of the early Christians – in marked contrast to the traditional Jewish belief – that Adam was created as a young child. The reason why he was forbidden to eat from the treat of knowledge was simply that he had to grow up first, and that takes time. Unfortunately, Adam was impatient; in trying to anticipate his adulthood, by seizing the fruit before the time was ripe, he thwarted the process of true maturing.
St. Irenaeus recognizes that one aspect of this is the disorder that afflicts human sexuality, and in fact we might say that his presentation of the Fall is, essentially, as a mishandling of the crisis of puberty. The result is that man can now only grow up properly by painful dismantling of the false grown-upness. To this end, the Don of God “came to be a child with us”, so that we could be led back to childhood and then grow up again, this time in a true way, til we come to the full stature of Christ himself. (cr. Ephesians 4:13)” – From Prayer by Simon Tugwell
Recently I attended a continuing education seminar put on by the Central Texas Conference for those of us in the process for ordination in which we were talking about “Systems Theory and leadership”. While I do not have the time or energy to go into the details of what I understand to be Systems thinking and the areas in which I find it to be greatly lacking, I want to point out that in this recent education experience, one of the presenters spoke on the need for leaders (and all people for that matter) to become self-differentiated.
The though is that you and I have duel systems working within us, the emotional and the intellectual. We need to be able to mature our lives so that we are able to separate the two out so they are not fused together. When we operate out of fused systems (aka: the undifferentiated-self) then we are quick to defend ourselves and create scapegoats and unable to process or make logical arguments because we are operating out of the strong impulse of the emotional self which is geared for survival (Seth Godin calls this part of our brain the “Lizard brain”).
The way that you and I begin to move to a “differentiated-self” is the process of maturation. However, most of us refuse to do the hard work of continuing maturing and remain in the world of the adolescent (which seems to becoming more popular these days with the “extended adolescent” trends of young adults).
As I encountered this bit from Tugwell, I could not help but think about how Christ’s ministry, death and resurrection is one of calling us into mature differentiated-selves. We are to engage the Powers of the world in non-violent resistance. We are to repent of our own misdoings and forgive others. We are to listen to others. We are to be with and advocate for the marginalized. We are to die to self. We are to find our call. We are expected to live out our vocation. We are to understand that people may not like you. We are to give to Caesar what is his and give to God what belongs to God. We are to take responsibility for our actions. We are to give grace unconditionally.
This is a very mature and difficult Way. It is of little wonder many of us choose to remain as adolescents. Choosing to skip all the hard work of self-differentiation and thwart our process of maturing. It is way easier to be an immature kid than a mature disciple of God.