Wednesday, January 31, 2007

What Is The Ring?

i was having a conversation with one of my best friends day before yesterday and i said something which i'm now wondering about. my friend and i use analogies from The Lord of the Rings archetypes - being responsible for something important and difficult is to be a ring-bearer, a close friendship is like frodo and sam's, and so on. and ... i think each of us is a ring-bearer. each of us carries her or his life and challenges and lessons, and we, as each person who interacts with the ring of power does, learn about ourselves and change and grow based on our attachment or lack thereof to the power of the ring. And if the ring is my life, your life, then the whole lesson is about attachment.
i was thinking about that in relation to our faith community, journey. what would it mean if the ring of power, for us, were the miraculous and crazy and mysterious power that god has given to journey, which we recognize as our faith community's calling? i know that gandalf says that "the ring is altogether evil" at the council at rivendell, but i think he's making the point that he says earlier to frodo: i would want to use the ring for good, but if i connect it to my power, it'll be too much, and it would twist my power to do evil things.
so, i'm wondering whether i'm off base in this thing i wrote for my friend. but i'm not worried about it - just thinking. maybe the calling given to our faith community is neither altogether good nor altogether dangerous, and my lesson is to learn not to elevate it to the status of being equal with god. if our calling/vision/mission becomes so important to us that we are attached to it, then our shadow is attached to it as well and that can give us even more power to be unhealthy with.
the true power is in not grasping the ring, but just carrying it, and continuing ... here's what i wrote:

Our vision and calling are not to carry the Ring – they are to carry the Ring but not keep it.
The warehouse [where journey meets, which requires a commitment to pay for each month and can feel like a burden we're carrying] isn’t the Ring – our sense of our calling from God is the Ring. We must carry it lightly and be ready to let it go. To let it all go. To give it back. To release what we are so attached to.
Isn’t that weird? That the Ring we are to carry is our calling from God? That is, our calling from God is what we carry. We are unwise if we think that we on our own can use it for good. It can only be good if it is given back to God, to the Fire from which it came. If we own it we will be turned. We cannot claim it. Clergy and ministries and churches all over the world forever have claimed the calling God had given them and seized it - and it made them sick. Like Saruman the Wise ... and reason turns to madness ... and they can't see anymore; success for God, the Kingdom, is all that matters - which is really, "success for me, for my kingdom, is all that matters, and God gave me this power to achieve that, and that's what God wants!"

but to accept it ... and let it go ... and not own it ... just serve it ... and be ready to release it?
Yeah, it’s painful. Like Galadriel, when it is offered to us, we may get a little headrush …

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