"Who I am makes a difference" project. Truly awesome! And I love what is behind the love of this project. But have we ever really stopped to ponder the need for it.
I would imagine that in your local "news" paper you have seen such headlines: Suicide Rate Increasing In US or like in my paper today, Tough times have suicides on the rise in McLean Co. Programs like Who I am Makes a Difference are great yet for me they do not get to the 'cross' of the matter? Is this not an issue of self-substantiation?
My favorite poster is hanging in my office, the title of it is, "Road to Success". To the best of my ability searching the background of the poster I came up with a published date of October 1913 by The Etude Magazine - An Issue of the Inspiration, Uplift and Ideals.
In this poster there is, at least from a worldly sense, for seekers of success, a pretty realistic image of the difficulty of obtaining success. This goes well with the etymology of the word and title of the magazine, 'etude' - along with it meaning 'a short composition for a solo instrument; intended as an exercise or to demonstrate technical virtuosity' it is derived from the French étude, from Old French estudie, which is the study or the application of the mind to the acquisition of knowledge.
As a graduate of a couple "leadership" programs to me this poster represents the world view of modernism and its concept of achieving success or validation. I have also come to see it as a parody of Christ's version of substantiation: abide in me and I will abide in you.
Gil Bailie helps us to get underneath the entire validation or substantiation crisis especially when we are striving for substantiation void of conversion, desperately clinging to structures which the Paraclete is gradually deconstructing.
It is really the Paraclete which is at work in the world. And if you don’t believe it just pick up tomorrow’s paper and see how it deconstructs the sacrificial ruse – what happens to societies who try to live after the sacrificial ruse has been deconstructed without a conversion experience is that they fall into chaos. The only alternative to the sacrificial system in terms of civility and sanity is conversion.Lord help us to be instruments, back to being grounded in the inspiration of YOUR WILL and help us be a source that verifies and loves everyone we meet and to spread YOUR LOVE wherever we go.
Jesus prays on behalf of his disciples, while still in the flesh John:17.11, “I am in the world no longer;…” So when he says, I am in the world no longer, what does he mean? He is not talking about the earth, nor is he talking about the flesh – he is talking about being in that ordered cosmos, which is the mythologized world of conventional culture. He says that he is in it no longer.
And then he continues as he is talking to God, “I have passed your word onto them and as a result the world hates them because they belong to the world no more. I am not asking you to remove them from the world but to protect them from the evil one – from the accuser. They do not belong to the world anymore than I belong to the world but they are still in it,” he says. This is the Johannine formula for where we are – it is like Paul, we are in it but not of it. This is where the anthropological reading leads directly into the spiritual reading. The Johannine’s Jesus says, "I am the true vine, my father is the vine dresser” and you are the branches.
In other words, if I am no longer at home in the culture world – if I can no longer derive my sense of social significance – psychological grounding, all the rest of it, for my social consensus – where then do I go to get it?
“I am the vine, my father is the vine dresser” and you are the branches.
This is the new world we belong to. Christ replaces the world as a source of self-substantiation. The world used to be your source of self-substantiation and Jesus says that he is robbing it of its power to substantiate either itself or you. Slowly but surely it will loose its power to substantiate itself and to substantiate those who participate in it. If you want self-substantiation you have to go to the source and the only source of self-substantiation is God – there is no way to get to God directly – you go through a mediator and Jesus will be the mediator – you can now ground yourself in Jesus. You live in me and I will live in you – this sounds so esoteric and so mystic in a way – ‘I live in you and you live in me’ – but it is absolutely practical. And it has to be seen in terms of the juxtaposition of the collapse of the conventional, social world, and its participants to substantiate itself.
Jesus says to make your home – you have to have a home – you have to be at home somewhere for you don’t belong to the world anymore – make your home in me and I will make my home in you. Abide in me and I will abide in you and then you will have some grounding. - from "A Light Shone into the Darkness - Reflections on the Gospel of John" - by Gil Bailie
(tape 10 end of side B)