Soul Making: Children of the Desert


Teresa of Avila – the soul as an interior castle which most people never explore 
Questioning our faith:
The work of the heart involves questioning and wondering:

  • Deepens and strengthens my faith
  • A way of revealing Gods grace

Believers from time to time need to break away from their old ways of believing.

Few would want to be free of either their idolatrous imaginings or their fixed opinions.

how can I be a believer in today’s world in such a way that it involves my whole self – my passion, my intelligence, and my allegiance? my question always returns me to the desert. 

It’s no longer possible to believe simply on someone else’s say so – on naked authority

We believe not because we’re supposed to – we believe because because we find them true

We are also mindful that as we throw out the external pope we don’t internalide our lofty idea

The danger of cults (blind faith) and dogmatic (biblical fundamentalism)

Three imperatives of mature believers: 

1. Look – contemplating willingness to see what is there in front of us without prematurely interpreting what we see

2. Weep – the fruit of honest contemplation is the gift of tears

3. Live – with inner joy

The desert emptiness and desolation is to prepare us for joy and grounding in hope – it is not a place for masochists

The desert and psychoanalysis are metaphors for focus, receptivity and change

What do we see when we look: disconnection, absurdity, glory -contradictions. Look hard and we see glory and promise

Spirituality rejoices in the interdependence of all things ‘the Art of making connections’ in a holistic sense

The way of images and the way of rejecting images:

We are connected through images and ideas. The trouble is separating images from the thing itself – can become idolatrous in themselves

The other way is the contradiction of opposites – negation and affirmation

What does it mean that I and others are created in the image of God?

Any attempts to trap God in an image, form, or figure is both futile and dangerous because God becomes ‘God’ and terrible things have been done in the name of God

The idolatry of ideas


We have a tendency to make ideas into things, and so we’re tempted to take our way or believing and thinking and imagine that our way is the only right and sane one there is out there.

Contemplation means seeing what is there and refusing to hallucinate so that we see only what we want to see.

What would it mean to be committed to a way of seeing that would challenge us to change? Contemplation (like art ) requires of us a willingness to be transformed. So does the study of theology.
JHB – Zurich overnight flight

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