Sunday, April 23, 2006

thirsty still

A perfect love, a heart-thief, a beauty--

My heart speaks and yet my tongue is mute.

It's rare, it's strange, it's a mystery:

Pure water flows beside me; still I'm thirsty.

#1099: From Rumi's Kolliyaat-e Shams-e Tabrizi

Last night I caught the Tony Blair interview on Parkinson, a show I very rarely watch. It was originally aired in the UK on 4 March 2006 and was seen as controversial because God came into it. Secularists really have become very touchy when they worry about their leader making decisions based on conscience (the psychic equivalent of God) as well as on an assessment of what the people want.

It scares me too because God has become such a nasty piece of work through association with fundamentalism and fanaticism of all sorts. This is sad because God really should be what Rumi portrays it as: "a perfect love, a heart-thief, a beauty".

The closest living example for me today of a man of religion who expresses such a God is now retired Episcopal (Anglican) Bishop, John Shelby Spong. The God he paints is very beautiful and he even chose an extraordinary image of Jesus for the cover of his 1974 book This Hebrew Lord, from a lesser known Rembrandt work:

The Head of Christ

Rembrandt: The Head of Christ @

Right now, I am hearing and answering to the drums of war. Why can't I attain to this pure water of love and drink therefrom? What has happened to me? I am parched and seem unable to drink.


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