We should maintain that if an interpretation of any word in any religion leads to disharmony and does not positively further the welfare of the many, then such an interpretation is to be regarded as wrong; that is, against the will of God, or as the working of Satan or Mara.

Buddhadasa Bikkhu, a Thai Buddhist Monk

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Riding the Black Swan

Christ on the Cross, Diego Velazquez
Two previous postings (here and here) described and reflected on the idea of Black Swan Events, historical events that are unexpected, have a significant impact, and are later accepted as having been almost the natural course of things.  We've seen that Black Swan Events are complex and that the name itself names something historians and many others were already aware of.  We know they exist, but coming to terms with them is the issue.  Yesterday (here), I considered the possibility that God authors Black Swan Events, including especially the Christ Event, for divine ends and left off with the following questions: In our day and age, how do we best make sense of the Presence of God in history and our lives? Given the complexity of Black Swan Events, does it make sense to believe that God uses some of them for divine ends?

Humanity has been wrestling with the divine since the dawn of the race, and these are not questions to be answered in a single blog posting—or at all, actually.  However, it is worth considering that God who is Beyond has created the parameters within which we live.  God created an evolving universe and made us the "products" of an evolutionary process.  God has given us freedom, and it seems only reasonable to presume that we are the "authors" of Black Swan Events, which events betray all of the marks of a broken humanity trapped in chaotic conditions of our own making.  Yet, we are more than just broken.  We create good as well as evil, and thus some of our Black Swan Events are positive, creative ones.

In a manner we do not understand but sometimes perceive with deep spiritual clarity, God who is Present rides the swirling surf of our lives working quietly but persistently to change the course of history.  As Christians, we trust that God was Present in Christ in a unique way, a full way.  God, that is, resides in and rides the crest of Black Swan Events constantly seeking to transform them or, at least, bring healing that mitigates the destruction such events can cause.

God works in history the way our hearts work in our lives.  I don't mean the pumping physical heart but, rather, the emotional heart.  That heart is as real, sometimes more real than the physical one even if the idea of the heart seems to be "only" a metaphor.  Both the heart and God are beyond-physical realities that define important elements of our human experience.  Beyond proving but powerful nonetheless.  In freedom, we do the things that lead to Black Swan Events.  In love, God seeds those events with healing and even, sometimes, transformation.  Amen.