The Light that excludes the Fire= to stand pat on the start and resist the existential birth that propels us toward the end.
This becomes an Eros that resists the Daemonic.
This is seeking communion with divinity before the Fall, or, if after the Fall, then it translates into communion with Christ’s Resurrection which restores and indeed divinises humanity.
This is the error of the wrong relationship to the originating, the original; wrongly clinging to it, like a child who will not let the mother go.
However, the origin is God-given= this is its rightness, and such rightness cannot be artificially constructed by human effort, however well intentioned, once it is lost.. Preserving this is necessary, as you guard something sacred.
The primal bridge, conduit, connection, between God and humanity is not to be thoughtlessly thrown away. This bridge teaches us what communing is, what communication is, what joining into, and joining with, is. It is marvellous.
The first proceeding, the first rising, of the Light of divinity and its direct manifesting, glowing, illumining, of the human is not to be repudiated, wherever and in whatever ‘form’ it happens. It happens all over the world, and happens to those outside religion as well as inside religion. It is the ‘Light that enlightens every person who comes into the world.’ This Light is natural, in that it is given to me and to you, indeed, it shines most radiantly among us when everyone gathers around it and it addresses us as ‘we.’ Every human being has this Light, and so in a certain way, is lit up by it and lights up the world and other people with their own way of conveying it. Not only is everyone ‘in’ the Light, ‘in their own ‘way’, illumined by and manifesting a share of the Light in their particular channelling of it, but everyone therefore has ‘an original face’ that, like a stained glass window, is lit up in its colour and pattern by that Light radiating from within, and going without. No particularity, from an insect on a leaf, to his personhood or her personhood, just disappears into Light, dissolved, melted, formless. Every form is a window of the Light, and no form repeats another. Each ‘light’ that is in us, that shines from our ‘original face’, is unique, even as its uniqueness is only so because it differently manifests the common Light. When we see the Light in the face looking at us, and know it is the same Light looking out at them, then we can share the Light, among us, between us, passed around.. We can delight in this sharing of the common gift, for it honours the common and the unique equally, at the same time.
Thus, even as we speak of the Light, we can and must also speak of the Light-in-Andy, and thus we must refer to the Light and the Light-in-Anita in the same breath, and realise this holds for everyone.
It holds for all created things.
The Light and the Light-in-the-eagle-on-the-wing.
The Light and the Light-in-the-tree-still-and-deep-rooted-in-the-green-forest.
Anything or anybody we hate= we reject the Light in them, and we seek the extinguishing of their way of revealing the Light. Hating certain people, even hating certain animals, means extinguishing their original face, their ikon, their song= their way of shining the Light into the world and onto everything and everyone they meet, their way of forming the Light’s imaginative power of Formlessness, their way of voicing the Light’s music of Silence.
Do we want the many poems of the Light extinguished?
The Light loves everything it lights up, and we, if really enlightened by it, love the Light and love everything and everyone it falls upon, bringing to light the particular luminance of that person, being, creature, thing.
Why isn’t this enough?
It isn’t enough= yet affirming that implies no disrespect to the Light.
A koan governs the Light.
It is necessary but not sufficient.
The sudden sense we have – which can be brought by terrible and inexplicable things happening to us, or can hit us inwardly, coming from nowhere — that the Light’s sufficiency is cracking is the ‘existential crisis’, the injury in the fabric of things, that lets in the Fire.
The first Fire-Bearers are always injured people= outsiders, those living beyond the city walls, trying to survive on scraps, trying to avoid getting carted off to Golgotha, or thrown into Gehenna, but always on the margins, always beyond the pale.
The injured people, the heyoka clown, the holy fool, the human trash, the human rejects, the brain injured so that an opening for electricity to come through happens= all these, and many more, are those who fall out of the Light, and live near ultimate destruction. The floor boards fall away and they fall into deeper places, not only the psychological damage of childhood but the spiritual damage of the human condition, ‘surfaces’ in them, and can never be pushed under the surface any more..
The people living in the Light, gathered together by the Light, communicating through the Light, their community a communing in Light, share love, but they are incapable of going out of this ‘sacred circle’ to confront where love fails. They do not do ‘forsakenness.’ The Light always gathers them all in. This is the glory of the Light, yet also this is the limit on the Love the Light demonstrates. The deepest Love must go where Love fails to gather in; the real Love must go where all primal and primary Love has failed, the land that is forsaken of Love, forsaken to Love.
But it is not forsaken by Love.
The real extremity of the Love of God’s heart cannot be manifested, shown, emanated, conveyed, by the warm, inviting Light.
Only the Fire of Spirit reveals the real heart of God, and only the forsakenness of hell provokes the depths of that heart in God.
This is why God risked humanity to falling out of the Light and farther and farther away from it, into the land forsaken of Love. In this land, the First Love between God and humanity, among humanity, among humanity and the creation, fails. This land becomes forsaken of that Love. But it is not forsaken of any Love. Yahweh has not forsaken the land forsaken of Love. It is exactly in this new and terrible place, in this new and terrible time, that the deepest and greatest heart of God will be revealed.
Why did God let the loss of the Light happen?
God let it happen to give us the Fire.
God risked us to losing the Light not only to reveal his heart, but also to give us a heart like his= to make our divinisation in, and through, the heart.
God has risked us to lose all heart so that, in our terrible struggling within and without, his way of heart can be tested and proved, and burned into, our heart. The two ways of heart converge. This is the divine-humanity of Christ.
I remember the long night in which, by the fast flowing river of time, we contended.
God and humanity battle, initially, but gradually this battle for the heart changes.
We fought to a stand-still, and the fight changed. It became our battle against the real adversary, he who judges and accuses the heart.
God is implacable, relentless, unswerving, in his intent.
Evil is given its day. The Light cannot stop it, nor save in the Light, save from the outer darkness and outer hell, the human heart that must live through the evil day and live it through to its end, which will be hell, or the defeat of hell.
What heart can wrestle with hell?
What heart can defeat hell, without simply suppressing it?
The Light penetrates its concealment but cannot fight it on its own turf.
The Fire takes it on.
The Fire gives evil its fiery day, gives evil its due, lets it challenge and test, and put under trial, the heart.
The heart is put in a bind, put under pressure, put under scrutiny.
The human heart is burned by this, its first battle results in ignominious and catastrophic defeat.
The gamble of God with the human heart, that it can be tested and proved worthy of carrying the divine heart, can destroy humanity.
In the wisdom and power of God, this will be the destruction that reforges humanity.
The Light cannot let evil search to the bottom of the human heart. In gathering in, in gathering together, it cannot deal with what is broken for the Light’s incoming. The Light exposes evil, but it cannot transform it, in the abysmal underneath where evil lodges, and gets its purchase on the heart.
The Light calls us all in. But if we stay out, if we cannot come in, then there arises the lost land, and the lost people of that land, the people left outside.
The human heart is not active in the Light. It is benign, sweetened, peaceable, in the Light. The nous and the soul rule, together, in the Light. Nous is he, soul is she. The mind-soul axis is adequate for the life in the Light.
The ‘hidden man of the heart’ sleeps and dreams good dreams, in the Light.
This is why we must fall out of the Light= the heart is made free by God, and is forced to enter the evil day, where there is no more Light.
The land forsaken of the First Light of Love becomes the forsaken land contested by the Fire of the deeper and greater Love.
Only in the forsaken land, through the forsaken people, through the forsaken parts in all people, will the Fire of God contest the evil day in the fiery troubles that let no heart rest.
The Light supresses this battling.
The Fire takes it on.
As the long night wore on, digging in, my exhausted heart began to prevail against your implacable, relentless immovability; your forces shifted, giving ground. I came harder, and you turned me, using my own force to unbalance my standing, and then, as I did not go down, but refound my footing, I began to believe I could outlast our stalemate. A strange joy began erupting. Not you, not me, the fight became our prevailing.
The Fire contests the risking of the human heart by God.
The Fire will not back off, and give the evil day over to its ruler, in the name of some kind of retreat back to the Light, where the gamble is forfeit. Returning to the Light to escape, or get clear of, the evil day, is not going to be allowed by God. ‘This is not going to happen.’
The evil day becomes the ‘day of trouble’ when the Fire locks horns with the options, questions, cleverness, potency, of evil. It is a fair contest. It is not rigged in advance= it could go either way, it could turn out well, it could end very badly.
Our failure of heart becomes the very turn around, the finish that becomes a second chance; or it really is ‘the end.’
God will not undo the evil one’s first victory over humanity’s heart, magically, supernaturally, by deus ex machina.
The Light becomes, in the face of this tragedy, a heavenly estate too light-weight compared with the heaviness of the forsaken land of heart. It is not that the devil has all the best stories= he has the only story. Heaven becomes, in this duality, the land of those bathed in Light but without heart= a place for the castrati, the flames that have gone out, so the lights in heaven shine but cannot burn. The Fire will not make them warmly burn in the Light [like a sea of candles flickering in the church]. The Fire has another task= not to let them be saved into the Light, where the test and trial of their heart prematurely ends, but to join with them in the forsaken land where hellish fires and the Holy Fire contest the human heart.
It is a fiery ordeal. It is ugly, not beautiful. It is harsh, not sweet. It makes us sweat, and stink, and bleed, and cry. It is not ‘pretty.’ It is, in reality, very hard to look at. Very few people can look at the human heart really up against it, pressed to the limit, in the most arduous and fiery tests and trials.
The Light continues to illumine but cannot take it on.
The Fire takes it on.
What heart can wrestle with hell?
What heart can defeat hell, without simply suppressing it?
The day of trouble is when the Fire violently seizes the evil day, and digs in, and from this moment onward, it is a street fight, ugly, brutal, unremitting. Don’t romanticise it. Don’t idealise it. Keep your theology under wraps= it is no use in this place, in this time.
God’s heart is going to be revealed by this.
Humanity’s heart is going to be unconcealed by this.
God has allowed evil to probe and sift and try the human heart, to reveal the hidden heart of Yahweh, and to make humanity’s horrendous battle with evil the furnace in which our heart is destroyed and remade as the throne and chariot of his heart.
The Daemonic is in nature= ‘the storm that brings healing rain’, but in the city of existential freedom, in the existential arena of spiritual test, the Daemonic is much more free, much more ferocious, much more actively revealing of its full intensity= it has to be to take on the evil that has its day, is given its due, in precisely that terrain.
Evil cannot be ‘tried out’, honestly and fully, when the heart is living in nature.
The city pretends it is not living through the evil day, where the heart is tried out and as part of that, evil must be allowed to be tried out; thus it makes a deceptive distinction between inside the walls, outside the walls. But what is outside the walls uncannily is wholly decisive for what happens inside the walls. The vandals are at the gates, and every empire will fall.
Golgotha is the wasteland beyond the walls. You see its secret presence within the walls all the time, if you awake in the heart. The infant’s cry, the harlot’s curse, the blood running down palace walls= it is all there to see, if you want to look at the desperate struggling of the human heart, buffeted by the evil fires, and whose only advocate is the Holy Fire. Decent people, nice people, people gathered in by the fading echoes of an already lost Light, do not want to face the street fight and so they deny themselves access to their only ally. It is not the Light. It is the Fire defending them. But they reject the Fire, and cower ever more tightly in the ever more constricting circles of illumination that is only a faint afterglow, and no wonder the evil people fight better than these good people trying to hide in an ever diminishing light..
The devil has the best stories, the best thugs..
The Circle of the Heavenly Light has become ever more denuded of the stories, of the warriors.
Fulminating religious fundamentalists, wanting to ‘give them hell’, for not kow towing to their religious misunderstanding, are not in the Light or in the Fire. They are another example of the outlanders, the jackals roaming the forsaken land.
Maybe no one will wake to the heart until the city is torn down, and the hill of Golgotha over Gehenna is all that remains. We could arrive at that catastrophe very quickly. The Fire of God could push us there, to force us to get real.
If that is what it takes to bring the hidden man of the heart out of hiding, whether in the Light or in the conventional life of pretences within the city walls, or scrounging for scraps in the rubbish dumps outside the city walls, then the Spirit of Fire will do it.
It is going to get tougher, more real in struggle in the contest of the Second Love which is Fire, before it gets gentle again, before the Light returns.
In the hiatus, we are in a fire storm because the day of trouble is fighting fair with the evil day, and that ‘complicated’, ‘difficult’, ‘ambiguous’, ‘ambivalent’, day is our heart.
It is a paradox.
Through the real existential threat of evil, God reveals his heart, and refashions our heart, as his vehicle.
This is the divine-humanity.
This is the Christ.
The West of Christianity= over heated hellishness.
The East of Christianity= under cooled hellishness.
In the West, a duality is created between Light and ‘fieriness’, and fieriness becomes the way in which the Light defends its gathering in, consigning anyone and anything not gathered in to a burning that is punishing because it is without any of the gifts of Light showered on those in the Light. Thus, God’s wrath is fiery, but all this burning does is to create a place where those who have lost the Light will burn forever, without any hope of remission.
In effect, hellishness is an aspect of God, God’s wrath which cannot be drawn in– unless it is assuaged, or appeased, in a way adequate to its justified indignation. On this scenario, Christ takes the hit meant for us, to get off us the hook. We therefore have only two options. Accept Christ as the only intermediary between us and the divine anger, the only one able to ameliorate it. If we accept this Saviour’s suffering in our stead, then we go to heaven, saved from ‘what we had coming.’ If we deny this Salvational suffering, then we go where we were always headed, ‘getting our just deserts.’
Light or hellishness are the two dualistic alternatives.
There is no Holy Fire. No holy burning, in grief, in battle, in struggling. No ardour, no leaping, no staking to the ground, no sacrificing, no humbling, no extremity of the heart’s doing in the powerful impulsion of Holy Fire.
Could Christ, if truly a man as well as God, have got through Passion Week if he did not have the Holy Fire igniting his human fire of passion, and spreading holy flame through-out his guts, his back, his balls, his whole body and whole inner constitution driven from the heart? Christ’s Passion is not to be understood, as many Greeks do understand it, as the Light incarnate in Yeshua simply passively putting up with the assault of evil passion, devilish and human, upon him. Then the hypostatic personhood does not act, but is acted upon. This is a radical error. It misunderstands what ‘passionateness’, from the Spirit in his own spirit, actively sustained Yeshua. He met the evil passion in the devil and in human beings passionately.
The Light of God filled even Yeshua’s garments earlier in his ministry, so much so that when someone just touched these clothes, he felt that divine energy went out of him and flowed into that person.
No Light could have gone through what Christ endured in Passion Week. The Fire took him to Gethsemane and tested him there, and the Fire drove him on to Golgotha, even as it would then take him through Gehenna and raise him on the other side.
The West is Light versus hellish fire; whether that fieriness originates in God, or is just generated by God as the dwelling place of eternal disquiet for those outside the Light, and refusing its ‘atonement’ as their way back in.
The East knows the ‘true Light’, the Light all primal peoples lived in, and the Light whose first dawning was seen in the religions of the Orient.
The East’s problem is to dismiss the hellishness of the West, and by trying to engineer a scenario where it does not really enter in, also reduces the action and drama of the Holy Spirit of Fire at work in the Cross, Descent into Hell, and Resurrection, of the Messiah. This then turns into an inability to understand, and ‘go’ with, the Post-Messianic Fire actively contesting the world’s fate, to give it a different destiny to that of increasing hellishness taking over the world process.
The East, in being Ortho-Dox, gets the Light right, and many felicities emerge from that. The East understands that the Light’s invitation is not only to communicate with it, face to face, I—Thou, but actually commune in it, sharing its abundance= eat and drink its ‘food’, which is the nourishing and regenerative gift of divine overflowing which pours into our diminished nature, being, life, like water into a desert.
The Communion offered by the Light is its chief blessing to humanity. Peter spoke of humanity becoming ‘partakers in the divine nature.’ The Greeks understood this, and they also understood that in Christ, God partakes of the human nature, and humanity partakes of the divine nature. No Jew would have gone so far, though communing is certainly Jewish in ethos. It replaces the mystical melting of the human ‘back’ into the divine of the Orient. God remains God and humanity remains humanity in the knitting together of divine and human, uncreated and created, natures.
James Bernstein, a Jew who became a Protestant, then an Orthodox, Christian, is at pains to distinguish the Ortho-Doxia of communing with Christ from the dreadful ‘atonement’ scenarios of the West=
“My youthful experience in [Orthodox] Judaism taught me that God loves. Though we had many laws to fulfil, God was always presented as merciful and forgiving. Salvation was never taught as our being delivered from God’s wrath. In my eighteen years as a Protestant, I came to view salvation as our being saved from the wrath of God and from the hell that he created for the lost” [‘Surprised By Christ’, 2008, p 219].
Bernstein points out that the same interpretation is in the Roman Catholic Council of Trent  which puts an anathema on anyone who does not confess that= “the first man, Adam, when he had transgressed the commandment of God in Paradise, immediately lost the holiness and justice wherein he had been constituted; and that he incurred, through the offence of that prevarication, the wrath and indignation of God, and consequently [came under the power of] death, with which God had previously threatened him, and ..with death, [also incurred] captivity under [the devil] who thenceforth had the empire of death, and that the entire Adam, through that offence of prevarication, was changed, in body and soul, for the worse.”
Bernstein= “According to St Irenaeus, man’s original state was one of spiritual.. innocence, and simplicity joined to moral purity. Man was to gain the divine likeness through a slow process. He does not view man’s Fall as a full-blown rebellion, but rather as an impulsive desire to grow before his time” [pp 220-221]. In Lakota tradition, according to Wilmer Mesteth, the primal fault in humanity is ‘prematurity.’ This urge to fly before you can walk is Luciferian. It is Lucifer, in the form of the mythical Serpent [not a snake], who woos Eve, as the deceptive Eros, to throw off her husband’s lower and more arduous long-walk, in order to use soul and nous to ‘soar.’
In Eastern Orthodox teaching, in the Fall humanity turns from God as Light= thus we turn away from the Light’s illumining and put ourselves ‘in the dark’, and turn away from the Light’s life, and put ourselves ‘in deadening.’
Bernstein= “the Fall damages the spiritual eye but does not destroy it. We are not totally blind, because having been created in the image and likeness of God, we still retain free will and some degree of desire for God. Faith remains within us, though it may be the size of a mustard seed. Having faith is not an all or nothing issue. Just as differing levels of fallenness exist, so do varying degrees of faith” [p 221].
Bernstein= “..when Orthodox read a verse like ‘Christ died for our sins’ [1 Corinthians, 15, 3], it is understood to mean Christ died for us — to heal us, ..to make us more godlike – not instead of us. The ultimate purpose of his [sacrifice on the Cross].. is to change us, not to avert the wrath of God” [pp 252-253].
But what does ‘make us more godlike’ really mean?
The Greeks are tempted to limit the communion of humanity with divinity to communing with the Light. The Greeks are apt to miss the pained existential realism of the communing in the Fire.
In repudiating the Satanic hellishness of the Fire of God in the West, they have curtailed the Fire as the driving engine of the passionate contest for what future humanity and the world will ‘move’ toward, the fires of hellishness or the Holy Fire. The Greeks over-estimate what the Light can ‘do’, and under-estimate what only the Fire can, in reality, do.
Salvation brings to humanity a regeneration of fallenness by virtue of actual union with God, through communion with Christ. This is to be “purified, [cleansed], illumined, and ultimately transfigured organically, within the very essence of our being” [Bernstein, p 259]. Thus= “forgiveness of sin is not a change in legal status concerning the exterior of our life, but a change in the very condition and state of our …inner being, and essence. Forgiveness of sin is the actual removal of sin, which includes our effort and participation” [p 260].
This is the Salvation which is ontological, not moralistic or juridical. It seeks to remove three barriers between God and humanity, according to Bernstein [p 258]. The barrier between the uncreated and the created is overcome in the Incarnation of God in humanity, uniting the divine and human without confusion. Sin is overcome on the Cross. Death is overcome in the Resurrection. According to Bernstein, we are saved from death, sin, and the devil, and saved for union with God.
Bernstein= “we are able to be united with Christ.. not figuratively but actually” [p 261].
It can be claimed that ‘removing barriers’ is the more Eros-based understanding of Salvation in the Christian East. It has strong echoes of the mysticism of Light in the first Jewish Temple of Solomon.
But what does it really mean that= “We die with Christ and we are raised with Christ as we participate in his life” [p 261]?
For the Eastern Orthodox, this process of barrier-removal is too focused on the Temple= “In Holy Communion we partake in faith of his gloried humanity, and his humanity and our humanity become one” [p 261].
This rush to the glory of the raised Christ, under-stressing the real existential radicalism of his agony on the Cross and his battling in Hell, is where the all too Greek Eros blots out the Jewish Daemonic. It contains a significant error.
God is referred to in Eastern Orthodox services as “the Lover of Mankind.” However, is God the Eros lover, or the Daemonic lover? Is this referring to the First Love of the Light, or the Second and Last Love of the Fire?
The danger of the bias that Greeks put on Ortho-Doxia — a bias not inherent to it and really a subtle distortion of it — is that Christ’s active and passionate deed in the active and passionate Fire of God is ‘reduced’ to a doctrine about Eros. Thus the Eastern approach extends the generosity of God’s Goodness, such that God’s Life is extended to, and overcomes, our death, God’s Compassion is extended to, and overcomes, our sin.
This insistence on communing with God which ontologically transmutes the human into the divine-human, after the pattern of Christ, under-estimates both the hell of our separation from God, and the radical sacrifice of the Cross needed to redeem it. The separation is not between the two natures, the separation is in the heart, and it is in the heart there must be reconciliation. This must happen first, before the knitting together of the two natures. In Christ, the existential is primary, the engine, and the ontological is the beneficiary, the consequence. In Christ, the Fire is the leader, and the Light follows. In the story of Christ, the Light becomes ever more subject to the terribleness and mystery of the Fire. Early on, it is all Light. But as it proceeds, the Fire looms up and takes hold of Yeshua’s salvational potencies, imposing upon him, as the room of no exit, the harsh and powerful redemptive destiny for which he came into the world. He did not come into the world to bring Light, he came into the world to bring Fire.
It is this will of the Father, that the Light be given over to the Fire, to which Yeshua was obedient. The final Light-Bringer became the first Fire-Bearer.
He ended the Way of Light, and made the Light the bridge into the Fire.
Saving= the lost.
Redeeming= the broken.
The danger in the Greek bias is that the Messianic Mystery would be confined to the Last Supper, such that people sincerely believe partaking in the Cup of the Last Supper is sufficient ‘shedding of blood’ and ‘breaking of body’; if you partake in the Last Supper, then that mysteriously connects you to the Cross. But the Last Supper then stands in as sufficient Cross for us. We only stand at the Cross, like Mary and John, we are absolved from going onto the Cross, like Peter.
It is not that the Eastern Way of communion, more ontological than existential, is wrong. It is that it leaves out what is more dynamic, more make or break for the future of all the world. Eros is made more generous, descending to our lowest point, in order to raise us up to its highest point.
But this does not address the depth of Hell, and the deepening of heaven needed to take on, and change that Hell, from within its citadel.
Only the Fire, not the Light, can ‘make this happen.’ The Fire is God’s action, activeness, activity, focused upon the active organ of flame in humanity, the heart.
There can be no true appreciation of the Cross if we do not allow Hell its full power of the Lie. Only in Redemption, not in Salvation, is ‘Truth won from the Lie’ by Suffering Love.
This happens in the world because it is for the world.
Henceforth we must behold the Light that leads into the Fire.
Let us behold the bright face that leads into the dark heart.
The Light obedient to Yahweh by willingness to be led by the Ruach into the mess, the outlands, the difficult places and the horror of times not saved, and impossible to save, yet still in with a chance of being redeemed, is the new Light in Yeshua. The Light that says to his Father, ‘thy will be done’, and on the Cross, loses all root in and connection to him, and plunges into the deeps where no radiance can reach.
The New Light, the Light Faithful to Yahweh in being given over to the Spirit’s searching of deeps, goes back to the Primal Light, but it is going with the Fire into an uncertain future whose outcomes it, and we, cannot ‘see’, because their possibility or demise is still held in a dark both hellish and pregnant for the turnaround.
The shining of the primal Light= to see.
The ignition of the New Fire= to do what has never been done.
In the Primal Light, a Circle of gathering in is created, and this circling round everyone and everything has four cardinal points, making a Kosmos= air, earth, water, fire, which is also north, south, west, east [as in the four gospels, the four seasons, the four aspects of personality]. In this turning wheel, the fire conforms to the Way of Light, it does not stick out like a sore thumb, but plays its part. Its part is reduced, its fieriness subsumed in, a servant to, the Light. That must be so.
In the New Dispensation, the Fire is free, because the heart is free, the heart of evil and the heart of God, and the human heart.
Now it is ‘for real.’
Those people in the West opposed to the hellishness of Augustine of Hippo, Anselm, John Calvin, et al., have to denude Christian Love of any and all Fire. It becomes purely Light. No fieriness in God is allowed to threaten the gathering in, and gathering together, in the Light.
William Law [1686-1761] – the teacher of John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, which is the Western tradition closest to Ortho-Doxia — is one of many dissenting Western Christians, trying to expel Satan from the Altar, from the Cross, from the unknown afterlife, in his work called ‘Christian Regeneration’=
“Some People have an Idea, or Notion of the Christian Religion, as if God was thereby declared so full of Wrath against fallen Man, that nothing but the Blood of his only begotten Son could satisfy his Vengeance.
Nay, some have gone such Lengths of Wickedness, as to assert that God had by immutable Decrees reprobated, and rejected a great Part of the Race of Adam, to an inevitable Damnation, to show forth and magnify the Glory of his Justice.
But these are miserable Mistakers of the Divine Nature, and miserable Reproachers of his great Love, and Goodness in the Christian Dispensation.
For God is Love, yea, all Love, and so all Love, that nothing but Love can come from him; and the Christian Religion, is nothing else but an open, full Manifestation of the universal Love towards all Mankind.
As the Light of the Sun has only one common Nature towards all Objects that can receive it, so God has only one common Nature of Goodness towards all created Nature, breaking forth in infinite Flames of Love, upon every Part of the Creation, and calling everything to the highest Happiness it is capable of.
God so loved Man, when his Fall was foreseen, that he chose him to Salvation in Christ Jesus, before the Foundation of the World. When Man was actually fallen, God was so without all Wrath towards him, so full of Love for him, that he sent his only begotten Son into the World to redeem him. Therefore God has no Nature towards Man, but Love, and all that he does to Man, is Love.
God therefore is all Love, and nothing but Love and Goodness can come from him.”
William Law, and countless others like him, are telling us that if ‘perfect love casts out fear’, then fear that remains loveless drifts toward the monarchal domination of Satanic Accusation.
But there is a very considerable problem in this, as in the Christian East. In effect, the Satanic West has falsified and thus obfuscated the ‘tough love’ of the Daemonic. To escape that, the softer love of Eros is emphasised at the expense of the true love, strong and vulnerable, just and merciful, of the Daemonic.
Again, the attempt is made to recast Christianity as witness to the Light, with no communing in Fire.
The West becomes an endless battle between matriarchal liberals and patriarchal conservatives, wasting the precious time which needs to be spent on redeeming.
The East avoids any worldly battle, retreating into church and monastery, praying too much= all the time.
In both West and East, Christianity has been ‘over feminized.’ The Light favours women. The true men, under the yoke of the Fire, are thin on the ground.
The New Light Subject to the Leadership of the Fire still plays a necessary, and vital, role in accompanying the Fire into bad times and bad places.
This is the ‘discerning of spirits.’
The Light is taken down into abysses of the unworked out, and taken forward into the dark of the not yet, the Light is forced to close its eyes of knowing to enter the heart, where only doing will or will not ‘make known’ the outcome in the end. This is why Yeshua did not know when the Second Coming, the Return of Light, riding the wave of Fire, would happen. This is why Paul warned Christians not to live in the immediate expectation of the Second Coming. No one knows when the Fire has reached the End. There cannot be any Foreknowledge of what remains ‘all to fight for.’
The Light serves the Fire, however, by virtue of still shining. For, the Light shows us, lights up, when we have betrayed the true Spirit.
Not everything that glitters is gold= not every enthusiasm, take over by unconscious forces, giving in to emotionalistic ‘surrender’, has anything to do with the real Fire. Not every wave that sweeps us along is the Holy Fire acting in us, below the neck.
In an Age of Fire, we need discernment not less than before, but more than ever before.
There is an inundation of pseudo fire flaming up, running through people, in the name of ‘inspiration’, ‘getting the Holy Ghost’, ‘being a prophet of new religions’, ‘becoming a druid’, ‘acting as a psychic medium for a Red Indian guide’, ad nauseam.
‘Quench not the Spirit.’
Yes, but do not be gullible, easily deceived, naïve, non-discerning, too flattering of your ‘spirituality.’ It is Lucifer who inspires and guides all the false emanations of ‘spirit’ which come to dwell in our interior.
Discern Satanic hellishness, but Lucifer luminosity, and now even Luciferianly polished false flaming up, must be discerned.
The hellishness we contest for the outcome of the world is Luciferian as well as Satanic, and Mephistophelean. Beware wanting to ‘give them hell’, but beware becoming a Creative Torch for lesser beings to look up to and learn from, and beware the Transcendence promoted by Pure Intelligence that is soulless and heartless.
The Light still shines, unconcealing hidden evil, but it is the Fire that engages such evil in its very heart of darkness, its very heart of hellishness.
Martin Buber once asked, can a Jew still speak with God, after the holocaust?
Christ said he had wanted to save the Jews by his Light, for he likened himself to a mother hen safely tucking under her protective wings her exposed chicks. But they would not.
The future of the Jews, like the rest of humanity, is in the hands of the Post-Messianic Fire, not in the hands of the Pre-Messianic Light.
The holy people of the future, the Fire-Bearers, will not be anything like the saints of the past, the Light-Bringers.
The sanctity of the Light will give way to the more tumultuous holiness of the Fire.
This has already begun.
Dostoyevsky thought the watershed dividing the time of Light from the time of Fire to have come not all at once but in waves of rumblings gathering pace over centuries since the Renaissance but reaching the decisive ‘before and after’ in the era termed ‘Modern.’ Like everyone involved in Russia’s extraordinary nineteenth century ‘cultural revolution’, he was an exponent of the Fire’s orientation to depths where human conflicts and divisions and temptations and trials were at their most extreme, but the possibility of movement in the heart also at its most open.
Maurice Friedman takes up this Dostoyevskian theme of the spiritual meaning of Modernity in conversations he had with his teacher, Martin Buber [‘To Deny Our Nothingness: Contemporary Images of Man’, 1978]. He refers to modern gropings toward a truthful, realistic, viable, ‘image of man’= “..not only an image of what man is, but also ‘an exemplary image of man’ which helps him discover, in each age anew, what he may and can become, an image that helps modern man rediscover his humanity” [p 17].
pp 20-21= “There is no question but that a contemporary image of man, to be truly so, must embody within itself.. the contradictions and paradoxes of modern existence. No modern man is excluded from images of man of past ages.. but he must relate to them just as the modern man that he is, bringing the whole complexity and perplexity of his modern existence into that relationship, or they will not be genuine images of man for him. During a conversation about Dostoyevsky’s Alyosha, I once asked Martin Buber whether he thought there could be such a thing as a ‘modern saint.’ Buber replied, ‘there can be a saint living now, but he will not be a modern man– a man who bears in himself the contradictions of modern existence.’ Buber’s judgement on this point might seem an arbitrary qualification of ‘sainthood’ until we recall that the very conception of the saint grew out of another age and implied a social integument very different from our own. The man who remains in vital relation to the contemporary age will, for better or worse, share in the tension and problematics of that age. Such a man is excluded from a simple personal sanctity or a self-sufficient perfection because the very wholeness of his personal existence includes his relationship to people and situations shot through with contradiction and absurdity. One of the finest and most moving of Kierkegaard’s devotional writings is ‘Purity of Heart Is To Will One Thing’, but anyone who knows the other side of Kierkegaard — the problematic.. author whose ‘leap of faith’ was based on paradox and the absurd — will recognise that he was a complex, modern man, not a ‘simple and pure-hearted’ saint.”
p 21= “In the end, ..we must each decide through our unique personal response what contemporary images of man possess the right tension between the raw material of the absurd and the shaping force of a new direction toward authentic existence. Particularly important here is our own experience of social violence and psychological demonry. How we have responded to this experience and let it enter into our basic attitudes will affect our judgement as to what.. amount of ‘horror’ is necessary before we can.. ask whether a given writer presents a realistic image of authentic personal existence.”
pp 22-23= “By far the largest part of the literatures of the 19th and 20th centuries presents us not with a positive image of man but with the lack of one. Indeed, it finds its integrity precisely by limiting itself to that task.”
p 295= [Buber says] ‘..love.. without real outgoing to the other, reaching to the other, and companying with the other, the love remaining with itself– this is called Lucifer’.”
pp 295-296=”Buber makes a similar critique of his own early mysticism. He tells that, when he was younger, he spent several hours a day in a mystic meditation that divided the world into ‘illumination and ecstasy and rapture held without time or sequence’ and an everyday world that served either as obstacle to or preparation for this life beyond. The ‘illegitimacy’ of this dualism was brought home to Buber by an event of ‘judgement’, an experience of ‘conversion’ from mystic ecstasy to the task of hallowing the everyday. After a morning of such religious enthusiasm, he was visited by a young man who came with a question that Buber later learned was one of life and death. He was friendly and attentive yet not really present in spirit. He answered the questions which the young man put, but failed to guess the one which he did not put. ‘What do we expect when we are in despair and yet go to a man? Surely a presence by means of which we are told that nevertheless there is meaning.’ When Buber learned that this young man had been killed in the trenches of World War I.. ‘out of a despair which did not oppose its own death’, he accepted this as a judgement on a religious life that extracted him from the everyday and deprived him of that wholeness of presence with which he might have responded to the claim of the other. In place of the fullness of the mystic experience, Buber writes, ‘I know no fullness but each mortal hour’s fullness of claim and responsibility’.”
Friedman adds [p 296]= “Although the mystical experience is self-validating to those who have it, Buber recognises that human existence must be more broadly defined than this ‘flight of the alone to the Alone.’ That mystical philosophy which leads [a person] to aim at unity with the All by sacrificing the full seriousness of the everyday is.. an exalted form of being inauthentic, says Buber..”
The saints of the past= illumined by the Light.
The holy people of the future= burned in the Fire.
In the holy people of the future, you will see their battered hearts on their faces= deep rents for abysses, gullies for tears, lines of battle carved in blood.
The modern holy people will be acquainted with the hellishness of despair, absurdity, paradox, contradiction, in themselves, as well as in all other persons, and indeed in the very human condition. To ‘rise above’ such hellishness is unholy.
Theophan the Recluse cossetted in his refuge= old style Light.
Mother Maria of Paris, chomping on cigarettes, drinking much, wrestling with the death of her daughter, but a sacrifice for the Jews she hid from the Nazis= new style Fire.
A different kind of religion, in all the major religions, will arise, in which there is an existential, and spiritual, connection between being ‘a man for all men’, and a man who knows the Hell in them because of knowing the Hell in himself.
The new holiness must plumb the Hell in me and in you, and we must both stop lying about it, and pretending we are the plaster cast good guys..
Don’t ask for people in religion smelling of lilies. That is the stench of death. We need deep people in religion, people in whom you can see and feel and touch the heat of Hell, but Hell stirred up in a process of fight with the Fire of Holiness, the battle for redemption.
This is Christ’s Cross and Resurrection= not your ticket into the ‘next world’, but your ticket into the depths of this world. Only the Fire of Holiness contests those depths.
Such is the modern holy person.
Do not resent holy people in whom you can smell the fire and brimstone, the sulphur, of Hell. Be thankful for that.
Only these people are going to join you when you are left, abandoned and alone, in your Hell. Only they are coming for you, at any price to be paid.
This is the redemptive connection, still hidden and unfulfilled for humanity, between the Cross and the Descent into and Resurrection from Hell.
No, I know you do not comprehend it. Even the churches have uniformly and consistently betrayed it. Yet in your heart you will live it.
We are still awaiting the appearance of modern holy persons. In extremis, they will come.
In extremis, we are the forsaken — abandon hope all ye who enter here — and we are the Holy, who come back for the last ruined one.
Thank God for the Hell in all of us.
But use it wisely.
Let the Light pull you back from mere enthusiasms which you mistake as the Holy Fire. Let the Light anchor you, as well as bridge you into, the Fire. Follow how the Light in Christ Jesus was drawn in over its head, but do not go against the Light.
Revere the ancestral foundation of the past. Let it protect you from false ‘moves’, false leaps, false doctrines, false emotive eruptions, false intellectual turns, false doings of every ilk that betray the future, rather than honour it. Let the Light reign you in, and hold you back. It is readying you. It is preparing you. The Light loves the Fire as you do. It will not deny you all Fire, it will keep you for the True Fire. Then it will, as it did in Christ Yeshua, jump out, and jump in, with only Fire to sustain, fuel, drive, its sufferings and exultings of the Spirit.
‘I came into the world to kindle Fire, and how I wish it were kindled already.’ We all have to be patient with that long road, fierce battle, going toward a final celebration.