I am thinking about soul stuff again.
The wisdom- tradition handed down to us by St Francis of Assissi is that the soul resides below the heart. I like this, because the soul is the dwelling place of God- within, and when waiting for God, who always comes, this is from where. I have never seen a blinding light, heard a booming voice, or even had a conversation with an Angel. He comes as a gentle upwelling, and an out-flowing : of joy, and laughter or sorrow, and tears, it all depends, and always fits.
Trumpets and Angel-song is for Christmas, and for babies I find: a different reality.
If, of course, I am describing any kind of reality at all - you know me, believing what I like - I am open to the possibility of error. (But not very...)
I never claim to be good, because, in fact, I am not. Not for the want of trying, to be fair, but something about me always reassesrts itself when I am at my goodest - An inbuilt tendency to rebellion that is part of me, and is impervious to persuasion, or prayer. The Church calls it 'original sin' and has come up with a myth to explain it, which works, in a funny sort of way. And yet, and yet... Let me try to make sense of it.
I am as I am because I am a conscious being with a conscience. This is elementary stuff, I know. In addition I am graced by an amazing set of circumstances that brings me to you now, happy, fulfilled, imperfect, good enough, sometimes... Forgiven at others. In short, at peace.
So the myth. It's all too easy to get tangled up in the free-will thing, which is always too simplistic and rarely satisfying. (Pretty much knocked on the head by neuro-science too, for the record.) I am thinking that perhaps after all, we didn't screw up in the beginning because God let us, just to be disappointed in us.
Eve, the proto-mother in the myth, was sinless when deceived by the voice of the serpent into biting into the apple. In order to be disobedient, she would have had to be capable of knowing what disobedience WAS:this is a foundational tenet of human justice, one can hardly suppose it to be absent from the divine. She didn't, so she wasn't, so the whole thing is more about finding a way out of a state of sublime innocence than laying all the troubles of this world on the actions of a woman - for which all women must be eternally blamed.
Look, I know this is heresy, but as I intimated earlier, rebellion is in my nature, and better out than in, say I. I am not feeling the least bit condemned: though I am pretty sure if this were the seventeenth century, I wouldn't be blogging it...
There is one Question God-within invites all who can, to answer when called to judgement: "Is this what Love would do?" Pretty fundamental, if you ask me. Many of the dearest people I know have no truck with conventional religion, and really, who can blame them? Not me. The news is full of grudge-taking revenge attacks by adherents to this or that god-bent, by faith-full people inventing new and worse ways of harming each other, in order, usually, to attach God to their pursuit of power, or wealth. All equally convinced of the rightness of their cause, never asking, "Is THIS Love?"
I long ago realised that I had to give up the notion of an 'anything' God. I mean by that a God OF justice or a God Of love. A being that will necessarily attach himself to any of my causes, or shield me from any of the stuff that comes to everyone else. (I mean, how just would that be?) He isn't OF anything - She just IS.
With Eve, I walked out of belief in the easy life in the Garden. I have sorrow and joy, I love and lose, I am well and sick, I am good and bad... I enjoy and endure and enjoy again. This is to be human - to be conscious with a conscience and it is GOOD.
So what then, is 'faith' all about..? It is knowing that God is not a distant Other. But a living, loving Inner. Here, dwelling among us, upholding us and experiencing his creation through us. He, not me, is the innocent one. She is Love.
He is perfectly presented to us as a baby, born to live a precarious life in a troubled world, with an inevitable and messy death. just like the rest of us.
Thankfully, that is NOT the whole story.