Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Environment: The Space You Create for Others to Live In

Hopefully I'm not disclosing this prematurely but it's a thought that's been wrestling around in my heart and screaming from my soul for quite a while. It's this idea of environments. The more I engage others, am influenced by others, influence others, create experiences, enjoy experiences, change culture and read the stories written on the hearts of all I meet, as well as reflect on the pages of my heart, the more I come to believe we are ever-more interconnected than I originally surmised and more environmental than I could've ever guessed. This truth came erupting from my soul when I immersed myself in the narrative origin of humanity, as perceived through the eyes of Christian faith.

One day, a few months ago, I turned to page one of Scripture (Genesis; Hebrew – “Bereshit,” translated – in the beginning)… I just wanted to know what this world was meant to look like and where the divergent point was that re-shaped the trajectory of human history. What resonated in my soul was the divine freedom given to humanity. The first recorded conversation, nay, the first three recorded words ever spoken by God to man, were, “You are free…” We were meant to be free. To know life. This served to underpin and affirm that my heart naturally desires to move towards an environment of freedom. So where did this divinely breathed freedom go?

So I read on…

What I saw is the story between Adam & Eve. Now, even if you are marginally aware of Christianity or Scripture, you’ve likely heard about this whole debacle with the serpent and the apple; how Eve decided to eat of the apple despite being commanded by God not to and how she offered it to Adam and he ate of it. Forget about any statement of faith here. In this moment, when Eve chose to eat the apple and offered it to Adam, the fact that we are environmental creatures screams off the page. In essence, what happened is that Eve created an environment that made it easier for Adam to choose that which is contrary to God, that which is toxic or even read as, that which is contrary to life (if you read on, it is revealed that this act resulted in immediate spiritual death & eventual physical death). Ultimately, this environment that Eve created for Adam acted as the catalyst for him to choose contrary to God which caused Adam’s relationship to God to be severed... but not just Adam's, because all of humanity died in that moment, along with a piece of God. You see, we killed a piece of His love and in order to restore this, God actually sacrificed His son, so that in His resurrection this love and connection would be resurrected.

Epitomized in this moment is the interdependence of all things... There is a pervasive connectedness that underscores the human story. That with one man all of humanity's connection with God was severed and with one man, all of humanity's connection with God was reconciled. We were meant to be one. To move as one. To see our lives not as individualized, disconnected experiences but a shared, communal experience.

And so with this reflection, my heart grieved… wondering… how many people have I created an environment for that cost them their life?

The questions I had to ask myself then became – What kind of an environment am I creating for others? In the wake of my life, will others know more freedom? Will my life breathe life into the lives of those I engage? Will others come to know wholeness because my soul touches theirs with love, leading them to the feeding ground of life? What will be my legacy? When my dreams are woven into the underlying texture of human history, will it enhance the story? Or will it merely be another wasted life, gone from the autumn to the ash?


Lance (one truth) said...

dude i loved this post. it def got me thinking.

but theologically speaking, you should edit the section in which you discuss that we "killed a piece of God" or His love... I think I get what you're saying but I think, given your superior intellect, you can find a better way to say it. Our fall had no impact upon the unchanging, immalleable nature of God. Nothing of Him died with us or was changed as a result of our fall.

In fact I've argued (though my argument is flawed) that our fall actually provided God the opportunity to display aspects of His nature that had always been present but yet had been seen, contributing to His greater glory.

PS. When are you moving back here so you can come lead OTC with me. :)

Dan said...

Some great thoughts in here. It gives me even more context for the comments you offered on my post about forgiveness. I especially like this section:

"We were meant to be one. To move as one. To see our lives not as individualized, disconnected experiences but a shared, communal experience."

I feel as though I've been socialized, trained, conditioned for disconnection. I feel we all have. I agree that the positive, natural force is towards connection - but I think a learned/taught trait has taken its place. I find it takes great intentionality to combat this force - to choose connection, to share experience.

The framework that my actions create the environment others must live in is really helpful. It certainly elevates the importance of my most subtle choices.