Rich Paxson

Sheelah, Thank you for your response. Not just this response, but all your responses, which I find reinforcing and challenging. What you said here helped me to see that I have more elements of my emerging understanding of freedom to ‘unpack.’ I didn’t mean to imply an ‘us against them’ dualism, but I see how what I wrote may reflect that understanding. What you wrote about Girard’s description of the conversion process is very helpful; as are your comments about finding God in those who are conflict-laden, which is all of us to one extent or another. And yet I am free to live into new awareness as an ‘interdividual’ who remembers that ‘even the darkness is as light to God.’ That’s from Psalm 139:12, which has long been a kind of ‘star in the East’ verse for me. God is equally present in both the darkness and the light, reflecting the embodied realities of actively loving those I may at first perceive as ‘other.’ So while the conversion process can feel ‘like being dragged through a bush backwards’ (which I remember is how James put it in I think the Joy of Being Wrong,) well, I’m free to volunteer! What’s on the other side of that bush is glorious … and yet I sense the glory is equally present on both sides of the bush, but apparently I can’t truly integrate that understanding without being ‘dragged backwards through that bush!’