Rich Paxson

Sheelah, thank you for reflecting on your Jerusalem experience and your thoughts about my post. At long last I find the poetry of scripture speaking to me more directly than its literal content. I ‘get it’ that Images of ‘Promised Land’ and ‘Wilderness’ paradoxically bring the reality of God’s real presence more effectively than those ideas taken literally. I find this insight a great relief that opens up the very human struggle underpinning scripture through language both beautiful and sublime.
This week I’m responding to the Working of Desire: Listen & Share (4.1) Discussion Question about praying our ‘smelly little desires’.
A ‘smelly little desire’ reflects the judgement that there is something, or many things, inherently wrong about a soul’s desire. Judgement denies the desire by avoiding or masking the underlying condition or longing motivating the desire.
When we deny the existence of a ‘smelly little desire,’ then the desire absorbs the energy needed for the denial thus strengthening rather than dissipating the desire. Avoiding or masking a desire ensures its longevity rather than facilitating its fading away. This paradox underpins the inherent goodness of praying our ‘smelly little desires.’
Praying a ‘smelly little desire’ accepts its existence while lifting it up for God to help us tease apart the nature and legitimacy of the desire. Praying the desire releases the personal psychic and spiritual energy bound up both in the desire itself and bound up in avoiding the desire. Lifting it up to God frees a soul to understand the reasons for its ‘smelly little desire’ as it travels along a path of healthy and congruent personal integration.