Thursday, April 24, 2008

The Dance of Being

Continuing on pulling concepts from The Shack to ruminate about. . .

I was struck by the words in Chapter 14, Verbs and Other Freedoms, especially on pages 204 and 205. Sarayu (personified wisdom) is speaking and says "For something to move from death to life you must introduce something living and moving into the mix. To move from something that is only a noun to something dynamic and unpredictable, to something living and present tense, is to move from law to grace. …"

The discussion in this chapter and on these two pages captured me. Since I work daily with words, grammar and parts of speech, I loved the truth presented in terms of nouns and verbs.

Sarayu shows that when nouns are used when referring to relationships, they are rules. Rules instead of living relationships (verbs). That made me think about how much of our teaching and practice in life are responsibilities and expectations. What a wonderful thought and realization!

The discussion goes on to point out that setting priorities is not what Papa wants. He doesn't want to be at the top of the list, or even "first among a list of values."

Do you know how much of what I've believed and taught is being challenged by this chapter? Intuitively, I know this to be true, but I haven't been able to put such words to my intuition. Every time I would try, it seemed wrong.

I have grabbed on to bits and pieces at various times. When I read a few years ago that religion makes us either Pharisees or rebels, I thought YES! Pharisees think, "Look at me. I can do all that is required of me. Why can't you?" Rebels say, "I can't do any of this. Who cares? Not me."

This chapter in The Shack says much the same thing, just in a different way.

I especially liked on page 206 when Mack says, "But if you don't have expectations and responsibilities, wouldn't everything just fall apart?"

Sarayu responds, "Only if you are of the world, apart from me and under the law. Responsibilities and expectations are the basis of guilt and shame and judgment, and they provide the essential framework that promotes performance as the basis for identity and value. You know well what it is like not to live up to someone's expectations."

I'll conclude my synopsis with what Jesus says on page 207, "Mack, I don't want to be first among a list of values. I want to be at the center of everything. … Rather than a pyramid, I want to be the center of a mobile, where everything in your life … is connected to me but moves with the wind, in and out and back and forth, in an incredible dance of being."

I love that phrase, an incredible dance of being. Who has ever described our Christian life in those terms? No one I've ever heard. But doesn't that draw you? It does me. Yes!

Am I there? Are you? I'm not. I'm far from it, but what an exciting, alluring invitation.
May I continually accept and never forget.


Paul Burleson said...


I don't comment often on your blog, but...this is right on.

I read the book, as you well know, but somehow the depth of this point evaded me. My loss.

You are bringing "The Shack" alive to me all over again. Good stuff.

The 'dance of being'....sounds like Christianity to me.

greg.w.h said...

At the center of the dance of being is: "I am."

Gives me shivers just writing that down.

Greg Harvey

Mary Burleson said...

Hey, Handsome,
Thanks for commenting. I know you read my blog, but that's special when you take the time to comment. (Are we funny, or what?) =)

I always appreciate when you comment. Great point!