The beach-equivalent of snow angels:
I was recently reintroduced to a concept known as “spiritual bypass,” coined by American psychotherapist John Welwood. Spiritual bypass occurs when one worships the spiritual experience and exploits it to avoid working on necessary psychological tasks.
Dr. Welwood observed the phenomenon in the context of his Buddhist experience, although I recognize it also in the context of Christianity, causing me to infer that it is a universal phenomenon.
Bypassers are the folks who jump headlong into religion, especially during a time of crisis, using chapter and verse to smile when they should be weeping and gnashing their teeth. It is justification for not feeling, chalking it up to “God’s will;” psyching ourselves out of critical opportunities for growth. Misplaced priorities.
This is the churchaholic, throwing themselves headlong into every activity available when the church doors are open, thereby bypassing perhaps what God really intended for them.
This is the workaholic, grinding away at the office for hours on the premise of doing a good job and bringing home extra bacon while neglecting duties of primary importance.
This is the alcoholic, the drugaholic, the sportsaholic. And, yes, the Facebookaholoic.
I propose that the concept of “bypass” is not only spiritual, but emotional, mental, physical, psychological, and any other framework within which one chooses to avoid God’s reality for them. I’d venture to say it even has neurological underpinnings, and is not unlike the brain’s ingenious way of creating dissociation in the face of unbearable trauma.
How many times have we seen those who are addicted to substances, to abuse (victims or perps), to human dysfunction of any sort, “find Jesus” (or Buddha, or environmentalism, or any good cause to an extreme) and “miraculously” turn their lives around for a time?
This is where the concept of salvation may seem shady to some: one “dedicates their life to the Lord,” only later to stumble and fall, and then at some point may again rededicate.
Throw a little Calvinism into the mix and you’ve got some worthwhile confusion to chew on.
Nobody wants the wood, hay & stubble, yet we wrestle with what quantifies the gold, rubies and Good Stuff. I like to think of it as a process that God needs us to go through to be closer to Him.
I suppose “bypass” can be any means of avoiding God’s will for us to fully experience our weaknesses. By His mercy He gave us manna, judges, prophets and, finally, Jesus, to help us face the fears we have behind our avoidance. He gave us these things to soften the blow, because He loves us. He knows we are vulnerable to pain – that’s how He made us. There is merit in ashes and sackcloth. But also in balance.
Jesus faced those fears head-on, but not before an attempt at bypass, Himself (“…let this cup pass.”).
I challenge you to examine your own bypass, ways you evade the experience of going through the necessary eye of the needle:
How do you bypass your own discomforts?
How do you bypass God’s intentions for you?
Do we sugar-coat these things with do-gooding and man (or self)-pleasing benevolence?
Sit erectly in the pew with the utmost appearance of faithful attentiveness, or lie crumpled in a heap, quietly weeping in a dark corner where only He can see?
Stay on the track we think best, when He’d rather we go on a wilderness walkabout?
What if you went through the eye, totally raw, skinless, open to the experience? Willing to feel? Amenable to risk? Susceptible to His sharpening?
What would that look like? And feel?
Courage, my friend.
From my local culture to you….
(I, personally, would have made the surfboard more to proportion so as to avoid alternative interpretations)
Ironically, this week’s photo challenge theme was issued while your Muse was schlepping around the one place in the entire world that few might recognize as the ultimate earthly Ground Zero of UP-ness.
As in, the uppity-uppest up, giant-est step that mankind has known.
This is the record-holding Saturn V:
It was built under the direction of one Wernher von Braun, a German who originally wanted to be a composer of great music. His career plans were derailed by his rocketry brilliance. His brilliance was used by Hitler to build the V-2 missiles (the “V” was for “vengeance”) until von Braun pledged allegiance to the United States of America, not long after witnessing the horrific conditions in the concentration camp that housed the prisoners who built his rockets.
When he tried to appeal to the SS on their behalf, he was told in no uncertain terms to hush up or he’d be given a black-and-white striped uniform of his own. After a two-week imprisonment by the SS for reasons unknown to him, he then “felt that only by surrendering such a weapon to people who are guided by the Bible could such an assurance to the world be best secured (Mike Wallace television bio).”
The rocket is too large to capture in its entirety. Here is the bottom half of the Saturn V, just two of its engines:
von Braun was named director of the Marshall Space Center for NASA in Huntsville, Alabama, where he oversaw the creation and building of the Saturn V between 1967 and 1973. The Saturn V was used to launch Apollo 11, enabling man to finally land on the moon. von Braun also drew up plans for his vision for a manned mission to Mars.
Here is the inside of the rocket engine. I love the patterns (where’d that V come from on the top, anyway?) and the crispy burnt effects on the aluminum…hot chihuahua!:
A total of 24 astronauts got to the moon this way. Bless their wives and families.
And also Major Tom, bless his heart, wherever he may be.
On the grounds of the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, you will find a museum, G-force simulators, tributes to astronauts, an awesome gift shop and a rocket park filled with retired, heavenly transportation vehicles. This is the Pathfinder:
In his spare time, von Braun also dreamed up the notion that children’s dreams of space travel should be nourished and encouraged. Thus, Space Camp was created and thrives today, now also including the Aviation Challenge camp. When I was there, the grounds were swarming with professors and teachers. It’s where the nation’s trainers are trained in the field.
The city of Huntsville never forgot von Braun’s original passion for the arts. The Von Braun Center, a sprawling, multi-venue facility for the arts (even with its own ice hockey arena) features top acts, Broadway plays and is a regional mecca for all things artistic and musical. Even though my eldest child had been to space camp years prior, I was unaware of the significance of this place until he was invited to play at the Von Braun Center last week. Perfect timing for an UP challenge – thanks, WordPress!
And when it’s time for a classic, homemade Southern dish, you MUST visit the Blue Plate Café . It’s the Southern equivalent of the Mediterranean diet. I kid you not.
So if you ever go tripping around in the South and have a hankering to discover this type of up, or if you have an up-wardly inclined child, I highly recommend a stop in Huntsville, Alabama.
Posted in Children, Christianity, Culture, Food, God, Life, Photography, Postaday, Travel, Weekly Photo Challenge | Tagged AL, Blue Plate Special, Huntsville, Rockets, Saturn V, Space Camp, U.S. Space and Rocket Center, Von Braun Center, Wernher von Braun | Leave a Comment »
As we might marvel at the wondrous awe of an unstoppable sunset,
Savor and embrace Change for all it’s worth.
As if there wasn’t a weird enough story with the Carnival Triumph post, today got even weirder, with people tonight calling the already-crippled ship “cursed” and accusing her of having “run over a voodoo doll in the Caribbean or something.”
Thanks to a “wake low,” (otherwise known as a significant drop in barometric pressure in the wake of an otherwise ho-hum storm system), surprise hurricane-force winds caused the Triumph to break free from its moorings in dry dock today as I scrambled to save my document at work with lights flickering.
With 600 crew members still aboard plus 200 contractors, the Triumph drifted into a river, slammed into an Army Corps ship, then voluntarily turned herself in to the Metro Jail by coming to rest on the jail’s riverfront back yard. There were plenty of spectators.
Sadly, her latest adventure today involved the loss of a security guard who was stationed in a guard shack which also broke loose and was foisted into the wild winds, dumping him and his coworker into the water several stories below. The coworker is stable in the hospital, but Coast Guard copters are unable to locate the other guard…divers will scour the waters tomorrow if weather permits.
Naughty, naughty ship.
I suppose it beats the headlines in most cities with murders, robberies and general human-inspired mayhem. Never a dull moment at the beach, though, either, I tell you…